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SAN  D!E®0 


v-  7 


JE>rcSDm   CEOttion 



Robert  G.  Ingersoll 





C.   P.   FARRELL 



C.    P.    FARRELL 





Answer  to  San  Francisco  Clergymen  —  Definition  of  Liberty,  Physi 
cal  and  Mental  —  The  Right  to  Compel  Belief  —  Woman  the  Equal  of 
Man  —  The  Ghosts  —  Immortality  —  Slavery  —  Witchcraft  —  Aristocracy 
of  the  Air  —  Unfairness  of  Clerical  Critics  —  Force  and  Matter  —  Doc 
trine  of  Negation  —  Confident  Deaths  of  Murderers  —  Childhood 
Scenes  returned  to  by  the  Dying  —  Death-bed  of  Voltaire  —  Thomas 
Paine  —  The  First  Sectarians  Were  Heretics  —  Reply  to  Rev.  Mr. 
Guard  —  Slaughter  of  the  Canaanites  —  Reply  to  Rev.  Samuel  Robin 
son—Protestant  Persecutions  —  Toleration  —  Infidelity  and  Progress  — 
The  Occident  —  Calvinism—  Religious  Editors  —  Reply  to  the  Rev.  Mr. 
Ijams—  Does  the  Bible  teach  Man  to  Enslave  his  Brothers  ?  —  Reply  to 
California  Christian  Advocate  —  Self-Government  of  French  People  at 
and  Since  the  Revolution  —  On  the  Site  of  the  Bastile  —  French  Peas 
ant's  Cheers  for  Jesus  Christ  —  Was  the  World  created  in  Six  Days  — 
Geology—  What  is  the  Astronomy  of  the  Bible  ?  —  The  Earth  the  Centre 
of  the  Universe  —  Joshua's  Miracle  —  Change  of  Motion  into  Heat  — 
Geography  and  Astronomy  of  Cosmas  —  Does  the  Bible  teach  the  Ex 
istence  of  that  Impossible  Crime  called  Witchcraft?  —  Saul  and  the 
Woman  of  Endor  —  Familiar  Spirits  —  Demonology  of  the  New  Testa 
ment  —  Temptation  of  Jesus  —  Possession  by  Devils  —  Gadarene  Swine 
Story—  Test  of  Belief—  Bible  Idea  of  the  Rights  of  Children—  Punish 
ment  of  the  Rebellious  Son  —  Jephthah's  Vow  and  Sacrifice  —  Persecu 
tion  of  Job—  The  Gallantry  of  God—  Bible  Idea  of  the  Rights  of 
Women  —  Paul's  Instructions  to  Wives  —  Permission  given  to  Steal 
Wives  —  Does  the  Bible  Sanction  Polygamy  and  Concubinage?  —  Does 
the  Bible  Uphold  and  Justify  Political  Tyranny?  —  Powers  that  be  Or 
dained  of  God  —  Religious  Liberty  of  God  —  Sun-Worship  punishable 
with  Death  —  Unbelievers  to  be  damned  —  Does  the  Bible  describe  a 
God  of  Mercy  ?  —  Massacre  Commanded  —  Eternal  Punishment  Taught 
in  the  New  Testament  —  The  Plan  of  Salvation  —  Fall  and  Atonement 
Moral  Bankruptcy  —  Other  Religions—  Parsee  Sect  —  Brahmins  —  Con 
fucians  —  Heretics  and  Orthodox,  .....  5-107 



Rev.  Robert  Collyer  —  Inspiration  of  the  Scriptures  —  Rev.  Dr. 
Thomas—  Formation  of  the  Old  Testament  —  Rev.  Dr.  Kohler—  Rev. 
Mr.  Herford—  Prof.  Swing  —  Rev.  Dr.  Ryder,  ,  .  111-122 

(iii)  VOL.  vii, 




Rev.  David  Walk—  Character  of  Jesus—  Two  or  Three  Christs  De 
scribed  in  the  Gospels—  Christ's  Change  of  Opinions  —  Gospels  Later 
than  the  Epistles—  Divine  Parentage  of  Christ  a  Late  Belief—  The 
Man  Christ  probably  a  Historical  Character—  Jesus  Belittled  by  his 
Worshipers  —  He  never  Claimed  to  be  Divine  -Christ's  Omissions  — 
Difference  between  Christian  and  other  Modern  Civilizations—  Civili 
zation  not  Promoted  by  Religion—  Inventors  —  French  and  American 
Civilization  :  How  Produced  —  Intemperance  and  Slavery  in  Christian 
Nations  —  Advance  due  to  Inventions  and  Discoveries  —  Missionaries 
—Christian  Nations  Preserved  by  Bayonet  and  Ball—  Dr.  T.  B.  Taylor 
—Origin  of  Life  on  this  Planet—  Sir  William  Thomson—  Origin  of 
Things  Undiscoverable  —  Existence  after  Death  —  Spiritualists  —  If  the 
Dead  Return  —  Our  Calendar  —  Christ  and  Christmas  The  Existence 
of  Pain  —  Plato's  Theory  of  Evil  —  Will  God  do  Better  in  Another 
World  than  he  does  in  this?  —  Consolation—  Life  Not  a  Probationary 
Stage  —  Rev.  D.O'Donaghue—  The  Case  of  Archibald  Armstrong  and 
Jonathan  Newgate—  Inequalities  of  Life  —  Can  Criminals  live  a  Con 
tented  Life  ?—  Justice  of  the  Orthodox  God  Illustrated,  .  125-167 



Are  the  Books  of  Atheistic  or  Infidel  Writers  Extensively  Read  ? 
—  Increase  in  the  Number  of  Infidels  —  Spread  of  Scientific  Literature 
—Rev.  Dr.  Eddy—  Rev.  Dr.  Hawkins—  Rev.  Dr.  Haynes—  Rev.  Mr. 
Pullman—  Rev.  Mr.  Foote—  Rev.  Mr.  Wells—  Rev.  Dr.  Van  Dyke- 
Rev.  Carpenter  —  Rev.  Mr.  Reed  —  Rev.  Dr.  McClelland  —  Ministers 
Opposed  to  Discussion—  Whipping  Children  —  Worldliness  as  a  Foe 
of  the  Church  —  The  Drama  —  Human  Love  —  Fires,  Cyclones,  and 
Other  Afflictions  as  Promoters  of  Spirituality  —  Class  Distinctions  — 
Rich  and  Poor  —  Aristocracies  -The  Right  to  Choose  One's  Associ 
ates—Churches  Social  Affairs  —  Progress  of  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church  —  Substitutes  for  the  Churches  —  Henry  Ward  Beecher  —  How 
far  Education  is  Favored  by  the  Sects—  Rivals  of  the  Pulpit  — 
Christianity  Now  and  One  Hundred  Years  Ago—  French  Revolution 
produced  by  the  Priests  —  Why  the  Revolution  was  a  Failure  —  Infi 
delity  of  One  Hundred  Years  Ago  —  Ministers  not  more  Intellectual 
than  a  Century  Ago—  Great  Preachers  of  the  Past—  New  Readings  of 
Old  Texts  —  Clerical  Answerers  of  Infidelity  —  Rev.  Dr.  Baker—  Father 
Fransiola  —  Faith  and  Reason—  Democracy  of  Kindness  —  Moral  In 
struction  —  Morality  Born  of  Human  Needs—  The  Conditions  of  Happi 
ness—  The  Chief  End  of  Man,  ......  169-215 


Discussion  between  Col.   Robert  G.   Ingersoll,  Hon.  Frederic  R. 
Coudert,  and  ex-Gov.  Stewart  L.  Woodford  before  the  Nineteenth 
Century  Club  of  New  York—  Propositions—  Toleration    not  a  Dis- 


claimer  but  a  Waiver  of  the  Right  to  Persecute — Remarks  of  Court- 
landt  Palmer — No  Responsibility  for  Thought— Intellectual  Hospitality 
— Right  of  Free  Speech — Origin  of  the  term  "  Toleration  " — Slander 
and  False  Witness — Nobody  can  Control  his  own  Mind  :  Anecdote  — 
Remarks  of  Mr.  Coudert — Voltaire,  Rousseau,  Hugo,  and  Ingersoll 
— General  Woodford's  Speech — Reply  by  Colonel  Ingersoll — A 
Catholic  Compelled  to  Pay  a  Compliment  to  Voltaire — Responsibility 
for  Thoughts — The  Mexican  Unbeliever  and  his  Reception  in  the 
Other  Country, 217-260 



Christianity's  Message  of  Grief— Christmas  a  Pagan  Festival — Repl) 
to  Dr.  Buckley — Charges  by  the  Editor  of  the  Christian  Advocate-^ 
The  Tidings  of  Christianity — In  what  the  Message  of  Grief  Consists- 
Fear  and  Flame — An  Everlasting  Siberia — Dr.  Buckley's  Proposal  to 
Boycott  the  Telegram — Reply  to  Rev.  J.  M.  King  and  Rev.  Thomas 
Dixon,  Jr.  Can  a  Day  be  Blasphemed  ? — Hurting  Christian  feelings 
— "For  Revenue  only"— What  is  Blasphemy  ? — Balaam's  Ass  wiser 
than  the  Prophet — The  Universalists — Can  God  do  Nothing  for  this 
World? — The  Universe  a  Blunder  if  Christianity  is  true — The  Duty  of 
a  Newspaper— Facts  Not  Sectarian — The  Rev.  Mr.  Peters — What  In 
fidelity  Has  Done — Public  School  System  not  Christian — Orthodox 
Universities — Bruno  on  Oxford — As  to  Public  Morals — No  Rewards 
or  Punishments  in  the  Universe — The  Atonement  Immoral — As  to 
Sciences  and  Art — Bruno,  Humboldt,  Darwin — Scientific  Writers 
Opposed  by  the  Church — As  to  the  Liberation  of  Slaves — As  to  the 
Reclamation  of  Inebriates — Rum  and  Religion — The  Humanity  of 
Infidelity — What  Infidelity  says  to  the  Dying — The  Battle  Continued 
— Morality  not  Assailed  by  an  Attack  on  Christianity — The  Inquisition 
and  Religious  Persecution — Human  Nature  Derided  by  Christianity 
— Dr.  DaCosta — "Human  Brotherhood  "  as  exemplified  by  the  His 
tory  of  the  Church — The  Church  and  Science,  Art  and  Learning  — 
— Astronomy's  Revenge — Galileo  and  Kepler — Mrs.  Browning  : 
Science  Thrust  into  the  Brain  of  Europe — Our  Numerals — Christianity 
and  Literature— Institution*  of  Learning— Stephen  Girard— Tames 
Lick — Our  Chronology— Hhrtorians—  Natural  Philosophy — Philology 
— Metaphysical  Research — latelligence,  Hindoo,  Egyptian— Inven 
tions — John  Ericsson — Emancipators — Rev.  Mr.  Ballou— The  Right 
of  God  to  Punish— Rev.  Dr.  Hillier — Rev.  Mr.  Haldeman— George  A. 
Locey — The  "  Great  Physican  " — Rev.  Mr.  Talmage— Rev.  J.Benson 
Hamilton — How  Voltaire  Died— The  Death-bed  of  Thomas  Paine— 
Rev.  Mr.  Holloway— Original  Sin— Rev.  Dr.  Tyler — The  Good  Samar 
itan  a  Heathen — Hospitals  and  Asylums — Christian  Treatment  of  the 
Insane— Rev.  Dr.  Buckley — The  North  American  Review  Discussion 
— Judge  Black,  Dr.  Field,  Mr.Gladstone — Circulation  of  Obscene 
Literature — Eulogy  of  Whiskey — Eulogy  of  Tobacco  — Human  Stu 
pidity  that  Defies  the  Gods — Rev.  Charles  Deems— Jesus  a  Believer 
in  a  Personal  Devil — The  Man  Christ,  ....  263-355 

VOL.  vii. 




Reply  to  the  Western  Watchman— Henry  D'Arcy— Peter's  Prevari 
cation — Some  Excellant  Pagans  -  Heartlessness  of  a  Catholic— Wishes 
do  not  Affect  the  Judgment — Devout  Robbers — Penitent  Murderers  — 
Reverential  Drunkards— Luther's  Distich— Judge  Normile— Self- 
destruction,  359-371 



Col.  Ingersoll's  First  Letter  in  The  New  York  World— Under  what 
Circumstances  a  Man  has  the  Right  to  take  his  Own  Life — Medicine 
and  the  Decrees  of  God— Case  of  the  Betrayed  Girl— Suicides  not 
Cowards— Suicide  under  Roman  Law— Many  Suicides  Insane — Insan 
ity  Caused  by  Religion— The  Law  against  Suicide  Cruel  and  Idiotic- 
Natural  and  Sufficient  Cause  for  Self-destruction—Christ's  Death  a 
Suicide — Col.  Ingersoll's  Reply  to  his  Critics— Is  Suffering  the  Work 
of  God?— It  is  not  Man's  Duty  to  Endure  Hopeless  Suffering — When 
Suicide  is  Justifiable— The  Inquisition— Alleged  Cowardice  ofSuicides 
— Propositions  Demonstrated—  Suicide  the  Foundation  of  the  Christian 
Religion — Redemption  and  Atonement — The  Clergy  on  Infidelity 
and  Suicide— Morality  and  Unbelief — Better  injure  yourself  than 
Another — Misquotation  by  Opponents — Cheerful  View  the  Best — The 
Wonder  is  that  Men  endure — Suicide  a  Sin  (Interview  in  The  New 
York  Journal)— Causes  of  Suicide— Col.  Ingersoll  Does  Not  Advise 
Suicide— Suicides  with  Tracts  or  Bibles  in  their  Pockets— Suicide  a 
Sin  (Interview  in  The  New  York  Herald)— Comments  on  Rev.  Merle 
St.  Croix  Wright's  Sermon— Suicide  and  Sanity  (Interview  in  The 
York  World) — As  to  the  Cowardice  of  Suicide — Germany  and  the 
Prevalence  of  Suicide— Killing  of  Idiots  and  Defective  Infants — Vir 
tue,  Morality,  and  Religion, 375-423 



Reply  to  General  Rush  Hawkins' Article,  "  Brutality  and  Avarice 
Triumphant" — Croakers  and  Prophets  of  Evil — Medical  Treatment 
for  Believers  in  Universal  Evil— Alleged  Fraud  in  Army  Contracts — 
Congressional  Extravagance — Railroad  "Wreckers" — How  Stock 
holders  in  Some  Roads  Lost  Their  Money — The  Star-Route  Trials — 
Timber  and  Public  Lands — Watering  Stock — The  Formation  of  Trusts 
— Unsafe  Hotels  :  European  Game  and  Singing  Birds — Seal  Fish 
eries — Cruelty  to  Animals— Our  Indians — Sensible  and  Manly  Patriot 
ism  —Days  of  Brutality — Defence  of  Slavery  by  the  Websters,  Bentons, 
and  Clays— Thirty  Years'  Accomplishment— Ennobling  Influence  of 
War  for  the  Right— The  Lady  and  the  Brakeman — American  Esteem 
of  Honesty  in  Business — Republics  do  not  Tend  to  Official  Corruption 
— This  the  Best  Country  in  the  World,  ....  425-447 

VOL.  vn. 





Defence  of  the  Lecture  on  Moses — How  Biblical  Miracles  are 
sought  to  be  Proved— Some  Non  Sequiturs— A  Grammatical  Criticism 
— Christianity  Destructive  of  Manners — Cuvier  and  Agassiz  on  Mosaic 
Cosmogony— Clerical  Advance  vgents — Christian  Threats  and  Warn 
ings — Catholicism  the  Upas  Tree — Hebrew  Scholarship  as  a  Qualifi 
cation  for  Deciding  Probab  ities — Contradictions  and  Mistranslations 
of  the  Bible— Number  of  Errors  in  the  Scriptures— The  Sunday 
Question 451-462 



Charged  with  Blasphemy  in  the  State  of  Delaware — Can  a  Condi- 
tionless  Deity  be  Injured  ? — Injustice  the  only  Blasphemy — The  Lec 
ture  in  Delaware — Laws  of  that  State — All  Sects  in  turn  Charged  with 
Blasphemy — Heresy  Consists  in  making  God  Better  than  he  is  Thought 
to  Be — A  Fatal  Biblical  Passage — Judge  Comegys — Wilmington 
Preachers — States  with  Laws  against  Blasphemy — No  Danger  of  In 
fidel  Mobs — No  Attack  on  the  State  of  Delaware  Contemplated — 
Comegys  a  Resurrection — Grand  Jury's  Refusal  to  Indict — Advice 
about  the  Cutting  out  of  Heretics'  Tongues — Objections  to  the 
Whipping-post — Mr.  Bergh's  Bill— One  Remedy  for  Wife-beating— 




Solemnity — Charged  with  Being  Insincere — Irreverence — Old  Test 
ament  Better  than  the  New—"  Why  Hurt  our  Feelings?" — Involun 
tary  Action  of  the  Brain — Source  of  our  Conceptions  of  Space — Good 
and  Bad — Right  and  Wrong — The  Minister,  the  Horse  and  the  Lord's 
Prayer — Men  Responsible  for  their  Actions — The  "  Gradual  "  Theory 
Not  Applicable  to  the  Omniscient — Prayer  Powerless  to  Alter  Re 
sults — Religious  Persecution — Orthodox  Ministers  Made  Ashamed 
of  their  Creed — Purgatory — Infidelity  and  Baptism  Contrasted — 
Modern  Conception  of  the  Universe — The  Golden  Bridge  of  Life — 
"The  Only  Salutation" — The  Test  for  Admission  to  Heaven — 
"Scurrility." 493-5*7 



Dr.  Hall  has  no  Time  to  Discuss  the  subject  of  Starving  Workers — 
Cloakmakers'  Strike— Warner  Van  Norden  of  the  Church  Extension 
Society — The  Uncharitableness  of  Organized  Charity — Defence  of  the 
Cloakmakers — Life  of  the  Underpaid — On  the  Assertion  that  Assist 
ance  encourages  Idleness  and  Crime — The  Man  without  Pity  an  In 
tellectual  Beast — Tendency  of  Prosperity  to  Breed  Selfishness  - 
Thousands  Idle  without  Fault— Egotism  of  Riches — Van  Norden's 

Idea  of  Happiness — The  Worthy  Poor 521-531 

VOL.  vii 




Interview  in  a  Boston  Paper — Why  should  a  Minister  call  this  a 
"  Poor"  World? — Would  an  Infinite  God  make  People  who  Need  a 
Redeemer? — Gospel  Gossip — Christ's  Sayings  Repetitions — The  Phil 
osophy  of  Confucius — Rev.  Mr.  Mills — The  Charge  of  "  Robbery  " — 
The  Divine  Plan ...  535*545 



Interview  in  the  New  York  Journal—  Rev.  Roberts.  MacArthur — A 
Personal  Devil — Devils  who  held  Conversations  with  Christ  not  simply 
personifications  of  Evil — The  Temptation — The  "Man  of  Straw" — 
Christ's  Mission  authenticated  by  the  Casting  Out  of  Devils — Spain — 
God  Responsible  for  the  Actions  of  Man— Rev.  Dr.  J.  Lewis  Parks — 
Rev.  Dr.  E.  F.  Moldehnke-^Patience  amidst  the  Misfortunes  of 
Others — Yellow  Fever  as  a  Divine  Agent — The  Doctrine  that  All  is 
for  the  Best — Rev.  Mr.  Hamlin — Why  Did  God  Create  a  Successful 
Rival  ?— A  Compliment  by  the  Rev.  Mr.  Belcher— Rev.  W.  C.  Bu 
chanan — No  Argument  Old  until  it  is  Answered — Why  should  God 
Create  sentient  Beings  to  be  Damned  ? — Rev.  J.  W.  Campbell — Rev. 
Henry  Frank— Rev.  E.  C.  J.  Kraelingon  Christ  and  the  Devil — Would 
he  make  a  World  like  This  ?  ...  549-572 




AGAINST  the  aspersions  of  the  pulpit  and  the 
religious  press,  I  offer  in  evidence  this  mag 
nificent  audience.  Although  I  represent  but  a  small 
part  of  the  holy  cause  of  intellectual  liberty,  even  that 
part  shall  not  be  defiled  or  smirched  by  a  single 
personality.  Whatever  I  say,  I  shall  say  because  I 
believe  it  will  tend  to  make  this  world  grander,  man 
nearer  just,  the  father  kinder,  the  mother  more  lov 
ing,  the  children  more  affectionate,  and  because  I  be 
lieve  it  will  make  an  additional  flower  bloom  in  the 
pathway  of  every  one  who  hears  me. 

In  the  first  place,  what  have  I  said  ?  What  has 
been  my  offence  ?  What  have  I  done  ?  I  am  spoken 
of  by  the  clergy  as  though  I  were  a  wolf  that  in  the 
absence  of  the  good  shepherd  had  fattened  upon  his 
innocent  flock.  What  have  I  said  ? 

I  delivered  a  lecture  entitled,  "The  Liberty  of 
Man,  Woman  and  Child."  In  that  lecture  I  said  that 

•This  lecture  was  delivered  by  Col.  Ingersoll  in  San  Francisco  Cal.,  June  27,  1877. 
It  was  a  reply  to  various  clergymen  of  that  city,  who  had  made  violent  attacks 
upon  him  after  the  delivery  of  his  lectures,  ' '  The  Liberty  of  Man,  Woman  and 

Child,"  and  "The  Ghosts."  .... 



man  was  entitled  to  physical  and  intellectual  liberty. 
I  defined  physical  liberty  to  be  the  right  to  do  right ; 
the  right  to  do  anything  that  did  not  interfere  with 
the  real  happiness  of  others.  I  defined  intellectual 
liberty  to  be  the  right  to  think  right,  and  the  right 
to  think  wrong — provided  you  did  your  best  to  think 

This  must  be  so,  because  thought  is  only  an  in 
strumentality  by  which  we  seek  to  ascertain  the 
truth.  Every  man  has  the  right  to  think,  whether 
his  thought  is  in  reality  right  or  wrong  ;  and  he  can 
not  be  accountable  to  any  being  for  thinking  wrong. 
There  is  upon  man,  so  far  as  thought  is  concerned, 
the  obligation  to  think  the  best  he  can,  and  to  hon 
estly  express  his  best  thought.  Whenever  he  finds 
what  is  right,  or  what  he  honestly  believes  to  be  the 
right,  he  is  less  than  a  man  if  he  fears  to  express  his 
conviction  before  an  assembled  world. 

The  right  to  do  right  is  my  definition  of  physical 
liberty.  "  The  right  of  one  human  being  ceases 
where  the  right  of  another  commences."  My  defini 
tion  of  intellectual  liberty  is,  the  right  to  think, 
whether  you  think  right  or  wrong,  provided  you  do 
your  best  to  think  right. 

I  believe  in  Liberty,  Fraternity  and  Equality — the 
Blessed  Trinity  of  Humanity. 


I  believe  in  Observation,  Reason  and  Experience 
— the  Blessed  Trinity  of  Science. 

I  believe  in  Man,  Woman  and  Child — the  Blessed 
Trinity  of  Life  and  Joy. 

I  have  said,  and  still  say,  that  you  have  no  right  to 
endeavor  by  force  to  compel  another  to  think  your 
way — that  man  has  no  right  to  compel  his  fellow- 
man  to  adopt  his  creed,  by  torture  or  social  ostracism. 
I  have  said,  and  still  say,  that  even  an  infinite 
God  has  and  can  have  no  right  to  compel  by  force 
or  threats  even  the  meanest  of  mankind  to  accept  a 
dogma  abhorrent  to  his  mind.  As  a  matter  of  fact  such 
a  power  is  incapable  of  being  exercised.  You  may 
compel  a  man  to  say  that  he  has  changed  his  mind. 
You  may  force  him  to  say  that  he  agrees  with 
you.  In  this  way,  however,  you  make  hypocrites, 
not  converts.  Is  it  possible  that  a  god  wishes  the 
worship  of  a  slave  ?  Does  a  god  desire  the  homage 
of  a  coward  ?  Does  he  really  long  for  the  adoration 
of  a  hypocrite  ?  Is  it  possible  that  he  requires  the 
worship  of  one  who  dare  not  think  ?  If  I  were  a  god 
it  seems  to  me  that  I  had  rather  have  the  esteem  and 
love  of  one  grand,  brave  man,  with  plenty  of  heart 
and  plenty  of  brain,  than  the  blind  worship,  the  ig 
norant  adoration,  the  trembling  homage  of  a  universe 
of  men  afraid  to  reason.  And  yet  I  am  warned  by 


the  orthodox  guardians  of  this  great  city  not  to 
think.  I  am  told  that  I  am  in  danger  of  hell ;  that 
for  me  to  express  my  honest  convictions  is  to  excite 
the  wrath  of  God.  They  inform  me  that  unless  I 
believe  in  a  certain  way,  meaning  their  way,  I  am 
in  danger  of  everlasting  fire. 

There  was  a  time  when  these  threats  whitened  the 
faces  of  men  with  fear.  That  time  has  substantially 
passed  away.  For  a  hundred  years  hell  has  been 
gradually  growing  cool,  the  flames  have  been  slowly 
dying  out,  the  brimstone  is  nearly  exhausted,  the 
fires  have  been  burning  lower  and  lower,  and  the 
climate  gradually  changing.  To  such  an  extent  has 
the  change  already  been  effected  that  if  I  were  going 
there  to-night  I  would  take  an  overcoat  and  a  box 
of  matches. 

They  say  that  the  eternal  future  of  man  depends 
upon  his  belief.  I  deny  it.  A  conclusion  honestly 
arrived  at  by  the  brain  cannot  possibly  be  a  crime  ; 
and  the  man  who  says  it  is,  does  not  think  so.  The 
god  who  punishes  it  as  a  crime  is  simply  an  infamous 
tyrant.  As  for  me,  I  would  a  thousand  times  rather 
go  to  perdition  and  suffer  its  torments  with  the 
brave,  grand  thinkers  of  the  world,  than  go  to 
heaven  and  keep  the  company  of  a  god  who  would 
damn  his  children  for  an  honest  belief. 


The  next  thing  I  have  said  is,  that  woman  is  the 
equal  of  man  ;  that  she  has  every  right  that  man 
has,  and  one  more — the  right  to  be  protected, 
because  she  is  the  weaker.  I  have  said  that  mar 
riage  should  be  an  absolutely  perfect  partnership  of 
body  and  soul ;  that  a  man  should  treat  his  wife  like 
a  splendid  flower,  and  that  she  should  fill  his  life 
with  perfume  and  with  joy.  I  have  said  that  a 
husband  had  no  right  to  be  morose  ;  that  he  had  no 
right  to  assassinate  the  sunshine  and  murder  the 
joy  of  life. 

I  have  said  that  when  he  went  home  he  should  go 
like  a  ray  of  light,  and  fill  his  house  so  full  of  joy  that 
it  would  burst  out  of  the  doors  and  windows  and 
illumine  even  the  darkness  of  night.  I  said  that 
marriage  was  the  holiest,  highest,  the  most  sacred 
institution  among  men  ;  that  it  took  millions  of 
years  for  woman  to  advance  from  the  condition  of 
absolute  servitude,  from  the  absolute  slavery  where 
the  Bible  found  her  and  left  her,  up  to  the  position 
she  occupies  at  present.  I  have  pleaded  for  the 
rights  of  woman,  for  the  rights  of  wives,  and  what 
is  more,  for  the  rights  of  little  children.  I  have 
said  that  they  could  be  governed  by  affection,  by 
love,  and  that  my  heart  went  out  to  all  the  children 
of  poverty  and  of  crime  ;  to  the  children  that  live  in 


the  narrow  streets  and  in  the  sub-cellars  ;  to  the 
children  that  run  and  hide  when  they  hear  the  foot 
steps  of  a  brutal  father,  the  children  that  grow  pale 
when  they  hear  their  names  pronounced  even  by  a 
mother ;  to  all  the  little  children,  the  flotsam  and 
jetsam  upon  the  wide,  rude  sea  of  life.  I  have  said 
that  my  heart  goes  out  to  them  one  and  all ;  I  have 
asked  fathers  and  mothers  to  cease  beating  their 
own  flesh  and  blood.  I  have  said  to  them,  When 
your  child  does  wrong,  put  your  arms  around  him  ; 
let  him  feel  your  heart  beat  against  his.  It  is  easier 
to  control  your  child  with  a  kiss  than  with  a  club. 

For  expressing  these  sentiments,  I  have  been 
denounced  by  the  religious  press  and  by  ministers 
in  their  pulpits  as  a  demon,  as  an  enemy  of  order, 
as  a  fiend,  as  an  infamous  man.  Of  this,  however, 
I  make  no  complaint.  A  few  years  ago  they  would 
have  burned  me  at  the  stake  and  I  should  have  been 
compelled  to  look  upon  their  hypocritical  faces 
through  flame  and  smoke.  They  cannot  do  it  now 
or  they  would.  One  hundred  years  ago  I  would 
have  been  burned,  simply  for  pleading  for  the  rights 
of  men.  Fifty  years  ago  I  would  have  been  im 
prisoned.  Fifty  years  ago  my  wife  and  my  children 
would  have  been  torn  from  my  arms  in  the  name  of 
the  most  merciful  God.  Twenty-five  years  ago  I 


could  not  have  made  a  living  in  the  United  States 
at  the  practice  of  law  ;  but  I  can  now.  I  would  not 
then  have  been  allowed  to  express  my  thought ; 
but  I  can  now,  and  I  will.  And  when  I  think  about 
the  liberty  I  now  enjoy,  the  whole  horizon  is  illumin 
ated  with  glory  and  the  air  is  rilled  with  wings. 

I  then  delivered  another  lecture  entitled  "  Ghosts," 
in  which  I  sought  to  show  that  man  had  been  con 
trolled  by  phantoms  of  his  own  imagination  ;  in 
which  I  sought  to  show  these  imps  of  darkness, 
these  devils,  had  all  been  produced  by  supersti 
tion  ;  in  which  I  endeavored  to  prove  that  man  had 
groveled  in  the  dust  before  monsters  of  his  own 
creation ;  in  which  I  endeavored  to  demonstrate 
that  the  many  had  delved  in  the  soil  that  the  few 
might  live  in  idleness,  that  the  many  had  lived  in 
caves  and  dens  that  the  few  might  dwell  in  palaces 
of  gold  ;  in  which  I  endeavored  to  show  that  man 
had  received  nothing  from  these  ghosts  except 
hatred,  except  ignorance,  except  unhappiness,  and 
that  in  the  name  of  phantoms  man  had  covered  the 
face  of  the  world  with  tears.  And  for  this,  I  have 
been  assailed,  in  the  name,  I  presume,  of  universal 
forgiveness.  So  far  as  any  argument  I  have  pro 
duced  is  concerned,  it  cannot  in  any  way  make  the 
slightest  difference  whether  I  am  a  good  or  a  bad 


man.  It  cannot  in  any  way  make  the  slightest 
difference  whether  my  personal  character  is  good  or 
bad.  That  is  not  the  question,  though,  so  far  as  I 
am  concerned,  I  am  willing  to  stake  the  whole 
question  upon  that  issue.  That  is  not,  however, 
the  thing  to  be  discussed,  nor  the  thing  to  be  de 
cided.  The  question  is,  whether  what  I  said  is  true. 

I  did  say  that  from  ghosts  we  had  obtained  certain 
things — among  other  things  a  book  known  as  the 
Bible.  From  the  ghosts  we  received  that  book  ; 
and  the  believers  in  ghosts  pretend  that  upon  that 
book  rests  the  doctrine  of  the  immortality  of  the 
human  soul.  This  I  deny. 

Whether  or  not  the  soul  is  immortal  is  a  fact  in 
nature  and  cannot  be  changed  by  any  book  what 
ever.  If  I  am  immortal,  I  am.  If  I  am  not,  no 
book  can  render  me  so.  It  is  no  mure  wonderful 
that  I  should  live  again  than  that  I  do  live. 

The  doctrine  of  immortality  is  not  based  upon  any 
book.  The  foundation  of  that  idea  is  not  a  creed. 
The  idea  of  immortality,  which,  like  a  sea,  has  ebbed 
and  flowed  in  the  human  heart,  beating  with  its 
countless  waves  of  hope  and  fear  against  the  shores 
and  rocks  of  fate  and  time,  was  not  born  of  any 
book,  was  not  born  of  a  creed.  It  is  not  the  child 
of  any  religion.  It  was  born  of  human  affection  ; 


and  it  will  continue  to  ebb  and  flow  beneath  the 
mists  and  clouds  of  doubt  and  darkness  as  long  as 
love  kisses  the  lips  of  death.  It  is  the  eternal  bow 
— Hope  shining  upon  the  tears  of  Grief. 

I  did  say  that  these  ghosts  taught  that  human 
slavery  was  right.  If  there  is  a  crime  beneath  the 
shining  stars  it  is  the  crime  of  enslaving  a  human 
being.  Slavery  enslaves  not  only  the  slave,  but  the 
master  as  well.  When  you  put  a  chain  upon  the 
limbs  of  another,  you  put  a  fetter  also  upon  your 
own  brain.  I  had  rather  be  a  slave  than  a  slave 
holder.  The  slave  can  at  least  be  just — the  slave 
holder  cannot.  I  had  rather  be  robbed  than  be  a 
robber.  I  had  rather  be  stolen  from  than  to  be  a 
thief.  I  have  said,  and  I  do  say,  that  the  Bible 
upheld,  sustained  and  sanctioned  the  institution  of 
human  slavery ;  and  before  I  get  through  I  will 
prove  it. 

I  said  that  to  the  same  book  we  are  indebted,  to  a 
great  degree,  for  the  doctrine  of  witchcraft.  Rely 
ing  upon  its  supposed  sacred  texts,  people  were 
hanged  and  their  bodies  burned  for  getting  up 
storms  at  sea  with  the  intent  of  drowning  royal 
vermin.  Every  possible  offence  was  punished  under 
the  name  of  witchcraft,  from  souring  beer  to  high 


I  also  said,  and  I  still  say,  that  the  book  we  ob 
tained  from  the  ghosts,  for  the  guidance  of  man, 
upheld  the  infamy  of  infamies,  called  polygamy ; 
and  I  will  also  prove  that.  And  the  same  book 
teaches,  not  political  liberty,  but  political  tyranny. 

I  also  said  that  the  author  of  the  book  given  us 
by  the  ghosts  knew  nothing  about  astronomy,  still 
less  about  geology,  still  less,  if  possible,  about 
medicine,  and  still  less  about  legislation. 

This  is  what  I  have  said  concerning  the  aristocracy 
of  the  air.  I  am  well  aware  that  having  said  it  I 
ought  to  be  able  to  prove  the  truth  of  my  words. 
I  have  said  these  things.  No  one  ever  said  them 
in  better  nature  than  I  have.  I  have  not  the 
slightest  malice — a  victor  never  felt  malice.  As 
soon  as  I  had  said  these  things,  various  gentlemen 
felt  called  upon  to  answer  me.  I  want  to  say  that 
if  there  is  anything  I  like  in  the  world  it  is  fairness. 
And  one  reason  I  like  it  so  well  is  that  I  have  had 
so  little  of  it.  I  can  say,  if  I  wish,  extremely  mean 
and  hateful  things.  I  have  read  a  great  many 
religious  papers  and  discussions  and  think  that  I 
now  know  all  the  infamous  words  in  our  language. 
I  know  how  to  account  for  every  noble  action  by  a 
mean  and  wretched  motive,  and  that,  in  my  judg 
ment,  embraces  nearly  the  entire  science  of  modern 


theology.  The  moment  I  delivered  a  lecture  upon 
"  The  Liberty  of  Man,  Woman  and  Child,"  I  was 
charged  with  having  said  that  there  is  nothing  back 
of  nature,  and  that  nature  with  its  infinite  arms 
embraces  everything  ;  and  thereupon  I  was  informed 
that  I  believed  in  nothing  but  matter  and  force,  that 
I  believed  only  in  earth,  that  I  did  not  believe  in 
spirit.  If  by  spirit  you  mean  that  which  thinks, 
then  I  am  a  believer  in  spirit.  If  you  mean  by 
spirit  the  something  that  says  "  I,"  the  something 
that  reasons,  hopes,  loves  and  aspires,  then  I  am  a 
believer  in  spirit.  Whatever  spirit  there  is  in  the 
universe  must  be  a  natural  thing,  and  not  super 
imposed  upon  nature.  All  that  I  can  say  is,  that 
whatever  is,  is  natural.  And  there  is  as  much 
goodness,  in  my  judgment,  as  much  spirit  in  this 
world  as  in  any  other  ;  and  you  are  just  as  near  the 
heart  of  the  universe  here  as  you  can  be  anywhere. 
One  of  your  clergymen  says  in  answer,  as  he  sup 
poses,  to  me,  that  there  is  matter  and  force  and 
spirit.  Well,  can  matter  exist  without  force  ? 
What  would  keep  it  together  ?  What  would  keep 
the  finest  possible  conceivable  atom  together  unless 
there  was  force  ?  Can  you  imagine  such  a  thing  as 
matter  without  force  ?  Can  you  conceive  of  force 
without  matter  ?  Can  you  conceive  of  force  floating 


about  attached  to  nothing  ?  Can  you  possibly  con 
ceive  of  this  ?  No  human  being  can  conceive  of 
force  without  matter.  "  You  cannot  conceive  of 
force  being  harnessed  or  hitched  to  matter  as  you 
would  hitch  horses  to  a  carriage."  You  cannot. 
Now,  what  is  spirit  ?  They  say  spirit  is  the  first 
thing  that  was.  It  seems  to  me,  however,  as  though 
spirit  was  the  blossom,  the  fruit  of  all,  not  the  com 
mencement.  They  say  it  was  first.  Very  well. 
Spirit  without  force,  a  spirit  without  any  matter — 
what  would  that  spirit  do  ?  No  force,  no  matter ! — 
a  spirit  living  in  an  infinite  vacuum.  What  would 
such  a  spirit  turn  its  particular  attention  to  ?  This 
spirit,  according  to  these  theologians,  created  the 
world,  the  universe  ;  and  if  it  did,  there  must  have 
been  a  time  when  it  commenced  to  create  ;  and 
back  of  that  there  must  have  been  an  eternity  spent 
in  absolute  idleness.  Now,  is  it  possible  that  a 
spirit  existed  during  an  eternity  without  any  force 
and  without  any  matter?  Is  it  possible  that  force 
could  exist  without  matter  or  spirit  ?  Is  it  possible 
that  matter  could  exist  alone,  if  by  matter  you  mean 
something  without  force  ?  The  only  answer  I  can 
give  to  all  these  questions  is,  I  do  not  know.  For 
my  part,  I  do  not  know  what  spirit  is,  if  there  is  any. 
I  do  not  know  what  matter  is,  neither  am  I  ac- 


quainted  with  the  elements  of  force.  If  you  mean 
by  matter  that  which  I  can  touch,  that  which  occu 
pies  space,  then  I  believe  in  matter.  If  you  mean 
by  force  anything  that  can  overcome  weight,  that 
can  overcome  what  we  call  gravity  or  inertia  ;  if  you 
mean  by  force  that  which  moves  the  molecules  of 
matter,  or  the  movement  itself,  then  I  believe  in 
force.  If  you  mean  by  spirit  that  which  thinks  and 
loves,  then  I  believe  in  spirit.  There  is,  however, 
no  propriety  in  wasting  any  time  about  the  science 
of  metaphysics.  I  will  give  you  my  definition  of 
metaphysics  :  Two  fools  get  together  ;  each  admits 
what  neither  can  prove,  and  thereupon  both  of  them 
say,  "  hence  we  infer."  That  is  all  there  is  of  meta 

These  gentlemen,  however,  say  to  me  that  all  my 
doctrine  about  the  treatment  of  wives  and  children, 
all  my  ideas  of  the  rights  of  man,  all  these  are  wrong, 
because  I  am  not  exactly  correct  as  to  my  notion  01 
spirit.  They  say  that  spirit  existed  first,  at  least  an 
eternity  before  there  was  any  force  or  any  matten 
Exactly  how  spirit  could  act  without  force  we  do  not 
understand.  That  we  must  take  upon  credit.  How 
spirit  could  create  matter  without  force  is  a  serious 
question,  and  we  are  too  reverent  to  press  such  an 
inquiry.  We  are  bound  to  be  satisfied,  however, that 


spirit  is  entirely  independent  offeree  and  matter,  and 
any  man  who  denies  this  must  be  "  a  malevolent 
and  infamous  wretch." 

Another  reverend  gentleman  proceeds  to  denounce 
all  I  have  said  as  the  doctrine  of  negation.  And  we 
are  informed  by  him — speaking  I  presume  from  ex 
perience — that  negation  is  a  poor  thing  to  die  by. 
He  tells  us  that  the  last  hours  are  the  grand  testing 
hours.  They  are  the  hours  when  atheists  disown 
their  principles  and  infidels  bewail  their  folly — "  that 
Voltaire  and  Thomas  Paine  wrote  sharply  against 
Christianity,  but  their  death-bed  scenes  are  too  har 
rowing  for  recital " — He  also  states  that  "  another 
French  infidel  philosopher  tried  in  vain  to  fortify 
Voltaire,  but  that  a  stronger  man  than  Voltaire  had 
taken  possession  of  him,  and  he  cried  '  Retire  !  it  is 
you  that  have  brought  me  to  my  present  state — Be 
gone  !  what  a  rich  glory  you  have  brought  me.' " 
This,  my  friends,  is  the  same  old,  old  falsehood  that 
has  been  repeated  again  and  again  by  the  lips  of 
hatred  and  hypocrisy.  There  is  not  in  one  of  these 
stories  a  solitary  word  of  truth  ;  and  every  intelligent 
man  knows  all  these  death-bed  accounts  to  be  entirely 
and  utterly  false.  They  are  taken,  however,  by  the 
mass  of  the  church  as  evidence  that  all  opposition  to 
Christianity,  so-called,  fills  the  bed  of  the  dying  in- 


fidel  and  scoffer  with  serpents  and  scorpions.  So  far 
as  my  experience  goes,  the  bad  die  in  many  instances 
as  placidly  as  the  good.  I  have  sometimes  thought 
that  a  hardened  wretch,  upon  whose  memory  is  en 
graved  the  record  of  nearly  every  possible  crime,  dies 
without  a  shudder,  without  a  tremor,  while  some 
grand,  good  man,  remembering  during  his  last  mo 
ments  an  unkind  word  spoken  to  a  stranger,  it 
may  be  in  the  heat  of  anger,  dies  with  remorseful 
words  upon  his  lips.  Nearly  every  murderer  who  is 
hanged,dies  with  an  immensity  of  nerve,  but  I  never 
thought  it  proved  that  he  had  lived  a  good  and  useful 
life.  Neither  have  I  imagined  that  it  sanctified  the 
crime  for  which  he  suffered  death.  The  fact  is,  that 
when  man  approaches  natural  death,  his  powers,  his 
intellectual  faculties  fail  and  grow  dim.  He  becomes  a 
child.  He  has  less  and  less  sense.  And  just  in  pro 
portion  as  he  loses  his  reasoning  powers,  he  goes  back 
to  the  superstitions  of  his  childhood.  The  scenes  of 
youth  cluster  about  him  and  he  is  again  in  the  lap  of  his 
mother.  Of  this  very  fact,  there  is  not  a  more  beauti 
ful  description  than  that  given  by  Shakespeare  when 
he  takes  that  old  mass  of  wit  and  filth,  Jack  Falstaff, 
in  his  arms,  and  Mrs  Quickly  says:  "  A'  made  a 
finer  end,  and  went  away,  an  it  had  been  my  christom 
child  ;  a'  parted  ev'n  just  between  twelve  and  one, 


ev'n  at  the  turning  o'  the  tide  ;  for  after  I  saw  him 
fumble  with  the  sheets,  and  play  with  flowers,  and 
smile  upon  his  fingers'  end,  I  knew  there  was  but  one 
way  ;  for  his  nose  was  as  sharp  as  a  pen,  and  a' 
babbled  of  green  fields."  As  the  genius  of  Shakes 
peare  makes  Falstaff  a  child  again  upon  sunny  slopes, 
decked  with  daisies,  so  death  takes  the  dying  back 
to  the  scenes  of  their  childhood,  and  they  are  clasped 
once  more  to  the  breasts  of  mothers.  They  go  back, 
for  the  reason  that  nearly  every  superstition  in  the 
world  has  been  sanctified  by  some  sweet  and  placid 
mother.  Remember,  the  superstition  has  never 
sanctified  the  mother,  but  the  mother  has  sanctified 
the  superstition.  The  young  Mohammedan,  who 
now  lies  dying  upon  some  field  of  battle,  thinks  sweet 
and  tender  thoughts  of  home  and  mother,  and  will, 
as  the  blood  oozes  from  his  veins,  repeat  some  holy 
verse  from  the  blessed  Koran.  Every  superstition  in 
the  world  that  is  now  held  sacredhas  been  made  so  by 
mothers,  by  fathers,  by  the  recollections  of  home.  I 
know  what  it  has  cost  the  noble,  the  brave,  the  tender, 
to  throw  away  every  superstition,  although  sanctified 
by  the  memory  of  those  they  loved.  Whoever  has 
thrown  away  these  superstitions  has  been  pursued  by 
his  fellow-men.  From  the  day  of  the  death  of  Vol 
taire  the  church  has  pursued  him  as  though  he  had 


been  the  vilest  criminal.  A  little  over  one  hundred 
years  ago,  Catholicism,  the  inventor  of  instruments  of 
torture,  red  with  the  innocent  blood  of  millions,  felt 
in  its  heartless  breast  the  dagger  of  Voltaire.  From 
that  blow  the  Catholic  Church  never  can  recover. 
Livid  with  hatred  she  launched  at  her  assassin  the 
curse  of  Rome,  and  ignorant  Protestants  have  echoed 
that  curse.  For  myself,  I  like  Voltaire,  and  when 
ever  I  think  of  that  name,  it  is  to  me  as  a  plume 
floating  above  some  grand  knight — a  knight  who 
rides  to  a  walled  city  and  demands  an  unconditional 
surrender.  I  like  him.  He  was  once  impri?  jned  in  the 
Bastile,  and  while  in  that  frightful  fortress — and  I  like 
to  tell  it — he  changed  his  name.  His  name  was  Fran 
cois  Marie  Arouet.  In  his  gloomy  cell  he  changed  this 
name  to  Voltaire,  and  when  some  sixty  years  after 
ward  the  Bastile  was  torn  down  to  the  very  dust, 
"  Voltaire  "  was  the  battle  cry  of  the  destroyers  who 
did  it.  I  like  him  because  he  did  more  for  religious 
toleration  than  any  other  man  who  ever  lived  or 
died.  I  admire  him  because  he  did  more  to  do  away 
with  torture  in  civil  proceedings  than  any  other  man. 
I  like  him  because  he  was  always  upon  the  side  of 
justice,  upon  the  side  of  progress.  I  like  him  in 
spite  of  his  faults,  because  he  had  many  and  splendid 
virtues.  I  like  him  because  his  doctrines  have  never 


brought  unhappiness  to  any  country.  I  like  him  be 
cause  he  hated  tyranny  ;  and  when  he  died  he  died  as 
serenely  as  ever  mortal  died;  he  spoke  to  his  servant 
recognizing  him  as  a  man.  He  said  to  him,  calling 
him  by  name :  "  My  friend,  farewell."  These 
were  the  last  words  of  Voltaire.  And  this  was  the 
only  frightful  scene  enacted  at  his  bed  of  death.  I 
like  Voltaire,  because  for  half  a  century  he  was  the 
intellectual  emperor  of  Europe.  I  like  him,  because 
from  his  throne  at  the  foot  of  the  Alps  he  pointed 
the  finger  of  scorn  at  every  hypocrite  in  Christen 

I  will  give  to  any  clergyman  in  the  city  of  San 
Francisco  a  thousand  dollars  in  gold  to  substantiate 
the  story  that  the  death  of  Voltaire  was  not  as 
peaceful  as  the  coming  of  the  dawn.  The  same 
absurd  story  is  told  of  Thomas  Paine.  Thomas 
Paine  was  a  patriot — he  was  the  first  man  in  the 
world  to  write  these  words  :  "  THE  FREE  AND  INDE 
PENDENT  STATES  OF  AMERICA."  He  was  the  first 
man  to  convince  the  American  people  that  they 
ought  to  separate  themselves  from  Great  Britain. 
"  His  pen  did  as  much,  to  say  the  least,  for  the  liberty 
of  America,  as  the  sword  of  Washington."  The 
men  who  have  enjoyed  the  benefit  of  his  heroic  serv 
ices  repay  them  with  slander  and  calumny.  If 


there  is  in  this  world  a  crime,  ingratitude  is  a  crime. 
And  as  for  myself,  I  am  not  willing  to  receive  any 
thing  from  any  man  without  making  at  least  an 
acknowledgment  of  my  obligation.  Yet  these  clergy 
men,  whose  very  right  to  stand  in  their  pulpits  and 
preach,  was  secured  to  them  by  such  men  as  Thomas 
Paine,  delight  in  slandering  the  reputation  of  that 
great  man.  They  tell  their  hearers  that  he  died  in 
fear, — that  he  died  in  agony,  hearing  devils  rattle 
chains,  and  that  the  infinite  God  condescended  to 
frighten  a  dying  man.  I  will  give  one  thousand 
dollars  in  gold  to  any  clergyman  in  San  Francisco 
who  will  substantiate  the  truth  of  the  absurd  stories 
concerning  the  death  of  Thomas  Paine.  There  is 
not  one  word  of  truth  in  these  accounts  ;  not  one 

Let  me  ask  one  thing,  and  let  me  ask  it,  if  you 
please,  in  what  is  called  a  reverent  spirit.  Suppose 
that  Voltaire  and  Thomas  Paine,  and  Volney  and 
Hume  and  Hobbes  had  cried  out  when  dying  "  My 
God,  My  God,  why  hast  thou  forsaken  me?  "  what 
would  the  clergymen  of  this  city  then  have  said? 

To  resort  to  these  foolish  calumnies  about  the  great 
men  who  have  opposed  the  superstitions  of  the 
world,  is  in  my  judgment,  unbecoming  any  intelli 
gent  man.  The  real  question  is  not,  who  is  afraid  to 


die  ?  The  question  is,  who  is  right  ?  The  great  ques 
tion  is  not,  who  died  right,  but  who  lived  right? 
There  is  infinitely  more  responsibility  in  living  than 
in  dying.  The  moment  of  death  is  the  most  unim 
portant  moment  of  life.  Nothing  can  be  done  then. 
You  cannot  even  do  a  favor  for  a  friend,  except  to 
remember  him  in  your  will.  It  is  a  moment  when 
life  ceases  to  be  of  value.  While  living,  while  you 
have  health  and  strength,  you  can  augment  the  hap 
piness  of  your  fellow-men  ;  and  the  man  who  has 
made  others  happy  need  not  be  afraid  to  die. 
Yet  these  believers,  as  they  call  themselves,  these 
believers  who  hope  for  immortality — thousands  of 
them,  will  rob  their  neighbors,  thousands  of  them 
will  do  numberless  acts  of  injustice,  when,  accord 
ing  to  their  belief,  the  witnesses  of  their  infamy 
will  live  forever  ;  and  the  men  whom  they  have 
injured  and  outraged,  will  meet  them  in  every  glit 
tering  star  through  all  the  ages  yet  to  be. 

As  for  me,  I  would  rather  do  a  generous  action, 
and  read  the  record  in  the  grateful  faces  of  my 

These  gentlemen  who  attack  me  are  orthodox 
now,  but  the  men  who  started  their  churches  were 

The  first  Presbyterian  was  a  heretic.     The  first 


Baptist  was  a  heretic.  The  first  Congregationalist 
was  a  heretic.  The  first  Christian  was  denounced  as 
a  blasphemer.  And  yet  these  heretics,  the  moment 
they  get  numerous  enough  to  be  in  the  majority 
in  some  locality,  begin  to  call  themselves  orthodox. 
Can  there  be  any  impudence  beyond  this  ? 

The  first  Baptist,  as  I  said  before,  was  a  heretic ; 
and  he  was  the  best  Baptist  that  I  have  ever  heard 
anything  about.  I  always  liked  him.  He  was  a 
good  man — Roger  Williams.  He  was  the  first  man, 
so  far  as  I  know,  in  this  country,  who  publicly  said 
that  the  soul  of  man  should  be  free.  And  it  was  a 
wonder  to  me  that  a  man  who  had  sense  enough  to 
say  that,  could  think  that  any  particular  form  of  bap 
tism  was  necessary  to  salvation.  It  does  strike  me 
that  a  man  of  great  brain  and  thought  could  not 
possibly  think  the  eternal  welfare  of  a  human  being, 
the  question  whether  he  should  dwell  with  angels, 
or  be  tossed  upon  eternal  waves  of  fire,  should  be 
settled  by  the  manner  in  which  he  had  been  baptized. 
That  seems,  to  me  so  utterly  destitute  of  thought 
and  heart,  that  it  is  a  matter  of  amazement  to 
me  that  any  man  ever  looked  upon  the  ordinance 
of  baptism  as  of  any  importance  whatever.  If  we 
were  at  the  judgment  seat  to-night,  and  the  Supreme 
Being,  in  our  hearing,  should  ask  a  man  : 


"  Have  you  been  a  good  man  ?  "  and  the  man 
replied  : 

"  Tolerably  good." 

"  Did  you  love  your  wife  and  children  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Did  you  try  and  make  them  happy?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Did  you  try  and  make  your  neighbors  happy?  " 

"  Yes,  I  paid  my  debts  :  I  gave  heaping  measure, 
and  I  never  cared  whether  I  was  thanked  for  it 
or  not." 

Suppose  the  Supreme  Being  then  should  say  : 

"  Were  you  ever  baptized  ?  "  and  the  man  should 
reply  : 

"  I  am  sorry  to  say  I  never  was." 

Could  a  solitary  person  of  sense  hear  that  question 
asked,  by  the  Supreme  Being,  without  laughing,  even 
if  he  knew  that  his  own  case  was  to  be  called  next  ? 

I  happened  to  be  in  the  company  of  six  or  seven 
Baptist  elders — how  I  ever  got  into  such  bad  com 
pany,  I  don't  know, — and  one  of  them  asked  what  I 
thought  about  baptism.  Well,  I  never  thought  much 
about  it ;  did  not  know  much  about  it ;  didn't  want 
to  say  anything,  but  they  insisted  upon  it.  I  said, 
"  Well,  I'll  give  you  my  opinion — with  soap,  baptism 
is  a  good  thing." 


The  Reverend  Mr.  Guard  has  answered  me,  as  I 
am  informed,  upon  several  occasions.  I  have  read 
the  reports  of  his  remarks,  and  have  boiled  them 
down.  He  said  some  things  about  me  not  entirely 
pleasant,  which  I  do  not  wish  to  repeat.  In  his 
reply  he  takes  the  ground  : 

First.  That  the  Bible  is  not  an  immoral  book, 
because  he  swore  upon  it  or  by  it  when  he  joined 
the  Masons. 

Second.  He  excuses  Solomon  for  all  his  crimes 
upon  the  supposition  that  he  had  softening  of  the 
brain,  or  a  fatty  degeneration  of  the  heart. 

Third.  That  the  Hebrews  had  the  right  to  slay  all 
the  inhabitants  of  Canaan,  according  to  the  doctrine 
of  the  "  survival  of  the  fittest."  He  takes  the 
ground  that  the  destruction  of  these  Canaanites,  the 
ripping  open  of  women  with  child  by  the  sword  of 
war,  was  an  act  of  sublime  mercy.  He  justifies  a 
war  of  extermination;  he  applauds  every  act  of 
cruelty  and  murder.  He  says  that  the  Canaanites 
ought  to  have  been  turned  from  their  homes  ;  that 
men  guilty  of  no  crime  except  fighting  for  their 
country,  old  men  with  gray  hairs,  old  mothers  and 
little,  dimpled,  prattling  children,  ought  to  have  been 
sacrificed  upon  the  altar  of  war ;  that  it  was  an  act 
of  sublime  mercy  to  plunge  the  sword  of  religious 


persecution  into  the  bodies  of  all,  old  and  young-. 
This  is  what  the  reverend  gentleman  is  pleased  to 
call  mercy.  If  this  is  mercy  let  us  have  injustice.  If 
there  is  in  the  heavens  such  a  God  I  am  sorry  that 
man  exists.  All  this,  however,  is  justified  upon  the 
ground  that  God  has  the  right  to  do  as  he  pleases 
with  the  being  he  has  created.  This  I  deny.  Such 
a  doctrine  is  infamously  false.  Suppose  I  could  take 
a  stone  and  in  one  moment  change  it  into  a  sentient, 
hoping,  loving  human  being,  would  I  have  the  right 
to  torture  it  ?  Would  I  have  the  right  to  give  it 
pain  ?  No  one  but  a  fiend  would  either  exercise  or 
justify  such  a  right.  Even  if  there  is  a  God  who 
created  us  all  he  has  no  such  right.  Above  any  God 
that  can  exist,  in  the  infinite  serenity  forever  sits  the 
figure  of  justice  ;  and  this  God,  no  matter  how  great 
and  infinite  he  may  be,  is  bound  to  do  justice. 

Fourth.  That  God  chose  the  Jews  and  governed 
them  personally  for  thousands  of  years,  and  drove 
out  the  Canaanites  in  order  that  his  peculiar  people 
might  not  be  corrupted  by  the  example  of  idolaters  ; 
that  he  wished  to  make  of  the  Hebrews  a  great 
nation,  and  that,  consequently,  he  was  justified  in 
destroying  the  original  inhabitants  of  that  country. 
It  seems  to  me  that  the  end  hardly  justified  the 
means.  According  to  the  account,  God  governed 


the  Jews  personally  for  many  ages  and  succeeded  in 
civilizing  them  to  that  degree,  that  they  crucified 
him  the  first  opportunity  they  had.  Such  an  ad 
ministration  can  hardly  be  called  a  success. 

Fifth.  The  reverend  gentleman  seems  to  think  that 
the  practice  of  polygamy  after  all  is  not  a  bad  thing 
when  compared  with  the  crime  of  exhibiting  a 
picture  of  Antony  and  Cleopatra.  Upon  the  cor 
rupting  influence  of  such  pictures  he  descants  at  great 
length,  and  attacks  with  all  the  bitterness  of  the 
narrow  theologian  the  masterpieces  of  art.  Allow 
me  to  say  one  word  about  art.  That  is  one  of  the 
most  beautiful  words  in  our  language — Art.  And 
it  never  seemed  to  me  necessary  for  art  to  go  in 
partnership  with  a  rag.  I  like  the  paintings  of 
Angelo,  of  Raffaelle.  I  like  the  productions  of  those 
splendid  souls  that  put  their  ideas  of  beauty  upon 
the  canvas  uncovered. 

"  There  are  brave  souls  in  every  land 

Who  worship  nature,  grand  and  nude, 
And  who  with  swift  indignant  hand 
Tear  off  the  fig  leaves  of  the  prude." 

Sixth.  That  it  may  be  true  that  the  Bible  sanctions 
slavery,  but  that  it  is  not  an  immoral  book  even  if  it 

I  can  account  for  these  statements,  for  these  argu- 


ments,  only  as  the  reverend  gentleman  has  accounted 
for  the  sins  of  Solomon — "  by  a  softening  of  the 
brain,  or  a  fatty  degeneration  of  the  heart." 

It  does  seem  to  me  that  if  I  were  a  Christian,  and 
really  thought  my  fellow-man  was  going  down  to 
the  bottomless  pit ;  that  he  was  going  to  misery  and 
agony  forever,  it  does  seem  to  me  that  I  would  try 
and  save  him.  It  does  seem  to  me,  that  instead  of 
having  my  mouth  filled  with  epithets  and  invectives  ; 
instead  of  drawing  the  lips  of  malice  back  from  the 
teeth  of  hatred,  it  seems  to  me  that  my  eyes  would 
be  filled  with  tears.  It  seems  to  me  that  I  would  do 
what  little  I  could  to  reclaim  him.  I  would  talk  to 
him  and  of  him,  in  kindness.  I  would  put  the  arms 
of  affection  about  him.  I  would  not  speak  of  him  as 
though  he  were  a  wild  beast.  I  would  not  speak  to 
him  as  though  he  were  a  brute.  I  would  think  of 
him  as  a  man,  as  a  man  liable  to  eternal  torture 
among  the  damned,  and  my  heart  would  be  filled 
with  sympathy,  not  hatred — my  eyes  with  tears,  not 

If  there  is  anything  pitiable,  it  is  to  see  a  man  so 
narrowed  and  withered  by  the  blight  and  breath  of 
superstition,  as  cheerfully  to  defend  the  most  fright 
ful  crimes  of  which  we  have  a  record — a  man  so 
hardened  and  petrified  by  creed  and  dogma  that  he 


hesitates  not  to  defend  even  the  institution  of  human 
slavery — so  lost  to  all  sense  of  pity  that  he  applauds 
murder  and  rapine  as  though  they  were  acts  of  the 
loftiest  self-denial. 

The  next  gentleman  who  has  endeavored  to 
answer  what  I  have  said,  is  the  Rev.  Samuel 
Robinson.  This  he  has  done  in  his  sermon  entitled 
"  Ghosts  against  God  or  Ingersoll  against  Honesty." 
I  presume  he  imagines  himself  to  be  the  defendant 
in  both  cases. 

This  gentleman  apologized  for  attending  an  infidel 
lecture,  upon  the  ground  that  he  had  to  contribute  to 
the  support  of  a  "  materialistic  demon."  To  say  the 
least,  this  is  not  charitable.  But  I  am  satisfied.  I 
am  willing  to  exchange  facts  for  epithets.  I  fare  so 
much  better  than  did  the  infidels  in  the  olden  time 
that  I  am  more  than  satisfied.  It  is  a  little  thing 
that  I  bear. 

The  brave  men  of  the  past  endured  the  instru 
ments  of  torture.  They  were  stretched  upon 
racks ;  their  feet  were  crushed  in  iron  boots ;  they 
stood  upon  the  shores  of  exile  and  gazed  with 
tearful  eyes  toward  home  and  native  land.  They 
were  taken  from  their  firesides,  from  their  wives, 
from  their  children ;  they  were  taken  to  the  public 
square  ;  they  were  chained  to  stakes,  and  their  ashes 


were  scattered  by  the  countless  hands  of  hatred,  I 
am  satisfied.  The  disciples  of  fear  cannot  touch  me. 

This  gentlemen  hated  to  contribute  a  cent  to  the 
support  of  a  "  materialistic  demon."  When  I  saw 
that  statement  I  will  tell  you  what  I  did.  I  knew 
the  man's  conscience  must  be  writhing  in  his  bosom 
to  think  that  he  had  contributed  a  dollar  toward 
my  support,  toward  the  support  of  a  "  materialistic 
demon."  I  wrote  him  a  letter  and  I  said  : 

"  My  Dear  Sir  :  In  order  to  relieve  your  con 
science  of  the  crime  of  having  contributed  to  the 
support  of  an  unbeliever  in  ghosts,!  hereby  enclose 
the  amount  you  paid  to  attend  my  lecture."  I  then 
gave  him  a  little  good  advice.  I  advised  him  to  be 
charitable,  to  be  kind,  and  regretted  exceedingly 
that  any  man  could  listen  to  one  of  my  talks  for  an 
hour  and  a  half  and  not  go  away  satisfied  that  all 
men  had  the  same  right  to  think. 

This  man  denied  having  received  the  money, 
but  it  was  traced  to  him  through  a  blot  on  the 

This  gentleman  avers  that  everything  that  I  said 
about  persecution  is  applicable  to  the  Catholic  Church 
only.  That  is  what  he  says.  The  Catholics  have 
probably  persecuted  more  than  any  other  church, 
simply  because  that  church  has  had  more  power, 


simply  because  it  has  been  more  of  a  church.  It 
has  to-day  a  better  organization,  and  as  a  rule,  the 
Catholics  come  nearer  believing  what  they  say 
about  their  church  than  otherChristians  do.  Was  it 
a  Catholic  persecution  that  drove  the  Puritan  fathers 
from  England  ?  Was  it  not  the  storm  of  Episcopal 
persecution  that  filled  the  sails  of  the  Mayflower  ? 
Was  it  not  a  Protestant  persecution  that  drove  the 
Ark  and  Dove  to  America?  Let  us  be  honest. 
Who  went  to  Scotland  and  persecuted  the  Presby 
terians  ?  Who  was  it  that  chained  to  the  stake  that 
splendid  girl  by  the  sands  of  the  sea,  for  not  saying 
"  God  save  the  king  "  ?  She  was  worthy  to  have 
been  the  mother  of  Caesar.  She  would  not  say 
"  God  save  the  king,"  but  she  would  say  "  God 
save  the  king,  if  it  be  God's  will."  Protestants 
ordered  her  to  say  "  God  save  the  king,"  and  no 
more.  She  said,  "  I  will  not,"  and  they  chained 
her  to  a  stake  in  the  sand  and  allowed  her  to  be 
drowned  by  the  rising  of  the  inexorable  tide.  Who 
did  this  ?  Protestants.  Who  drove  Roger  Williams 
from  Massachusetts  ?  Protestants.  Who  sold  white 
Quaker  children  into  slavery?  Protestants.  Who 
cut  out  the  tongues  of  Quakers  ?  Who  burned  and 
destroyed  men  and  women  and  children  charged 
with  impossible  crimes  ?  Protestants.  The  Protes- 


tants  have  persecuted  exactly  to  the  extent  of  their 
power.     The  Catholics  have  done  the  same. 

I  want,  however,  to  be  just.  The  first  people  to 
pass  an  act  of  religious  toleration  in  the  New 
World  were  the  Catholics  of  Maryland.  The  next 
were  the  Baptists  of  Rhode  Island,  led  by  Roger 
Williams.  The  Catholics  passed  the  act  of  religious 
toleration,  and  after  the  Protestants  got  into  power 
again  in  England,  and  also  in  the  colony  of  Mary 
land,  they  repealed  the  law  of  toleration  and  passed 
another  law  declaring  the  Catholics  from  under  the 
protection  of  all  law.  Afterward,  the  Catholics 
again  got  into  power  and  had  the  generosity  and 
magnanimity  to  re-enact  the  old  law.  And,  so  far 
as  I  know,  it  is  the  only  good  record  upon  the 
subject  of  religious  toleration  the  Catholics  have  in 
this  world,  and  I  am  always  willing  to  give  them 
credit  for  it. 

This  gentleman  also  says  that  infidelity  has  done 
nothing  for  the  world  in  the  development  of  the  arts 
and  sciences.  Does  he  not  know  that  nearly  every 
man  who  took  a  forward  step  was  denounced  by  the 
church  as  a  heretic  and  infidel  ?  Does  he  not  know 
that  the  church  has  in  all  ages  persecuted  the 
astronomers,  the  geologists,  the  logicians  ?  Does 
he  not  know  that  even  to-dav  the  church  slanders 


and  maligns  the  foremost  men  ?  Has  he  ever 
heard  of  Tyndall,  of  Huxley  ?  Is  he  acquainted  with 
John  W.  Draper,  one  of  the  leading  minds  of  the 
world  ?  Did  he  ever  hear  of  Auguste  Comte,  the 
great  Frenchman  ?  Did  he  ever  hear  of  Descartes, 
of  Laplace,  of  Spinoza  ?  In  short,  has  he  ever 
heard  of  a  man  who  took  a  step  in  advance  of  his 

Orthodoxy  never  advances.  When  it  advances, 
it  ceases  to  be  orthodoxy  and  becomes  heresy. 
Orthodoxy  is  putrefaction.  It  is  intellectual  cloaca ; 
it  cannot  advance.  What  the  church  calls  infidelity 
is  simply  free  thought.  Every  man  who  really 
owns  his  own  brain  is,  in  the  estimation  of  the 
church,  an  infidel. 

There  is  a  paper  published  in  this  city  called  The 
Occident.  The  Editor  has  seen  fit  to  speak  of  me, 
and  of  the  people  who  have  assembled  to  hear  me,  in 
the  lowest,  vilest  and  most  scurrilous  terms  possible. 
I  cannot  afford  to  reply  in  the  same  spirit.  He 
alleges  that  the  people  who  assemble  to  hear  me 
are  the  low,  the  debauched  and  the  infamous.  The 
man  who  reads  that  paper  ought  to  read  it  with 
tongs.  It  is  a  Presbyterian  sheet ;  and  would  gladly 
treat  me  as  John  Calvin  treated  Castalio.  Castalio 
was  the  first  minister  in  the  history  of  Christendom 


who  acknowledged  the  innocence  of  honest  error, 
and  John  Calvin  followed  him  like  a  sleuth-hound  of 
perdition.  He  called  him  a  "  dog  of  Satan ;  "  said 
that  he  had  crucified  Christ  afresh  ;  and  pursued 
him  to  the  very  grave.  The  editor  of  this  paper  is 
still  warming  his  hands  at  the  fire  that  burned 
Servetus.  He  has  in  his  heart  the  same  fierce 
hatred  of  everything  that  is  free.  But  what  right 
have  we  to  expect  anything  good  of  a  man  who 
believes  in  the  eternal  damnation  of  infants  ? 

There  may  have  been  sometime  in  the  history  of 
the  world  a  worse  religion  than  Old  School  Presby- 
terianism,  but  if  there  ever  was,  from  cannibalism  to 
civilization,  I  have  never  heard  of  it. 

I  make  a  distinction  between  the  members  and 
the  creed  of  that  church.  I  know  many  who  are 
a  thousand  times  better  than  the  creed — good,  warm 
and  splendid  friends  of  mine.  I  would  do  anything 
in  the  world  for  them.  And  I  have  said  to  them  a 
hundred  times,  "  You  are  a  thousand  times  better 
than  your  creed."  But  when  you  come  down  to  the 
doctrine  of  the  damnation  of  infants,  it  is  the  de 
formity  of  deformities.  The  editor  of  this  paper  is 
engaged  in  giving  the  world  the  cheerful  doctrines 
of  fore -ordination  and  damnation — those  twin  com 
forts  of  the  Presbyterian  creed,  and  warning  them 


against  the  frightful  effects  of  reasoning  in  any 
manner  for  themselves.  He  regards  the  intellectu 
ally  free  as  the  lowest,  the  vilest  and  the  meanest, 
as  men  who  wish  to  sin,  as  men  who  are  longing  to 
commit  crime,  men  who  are  anxious  to  throw  off  all 

My  friends,  every  chain  thrown  from  the  body 
puts  an  additional  obligation  upon  the  soul.  Every 
man  who  is  free,  puts  a  responsibility  upon  his  brain 
and  upon  his  heart.  You,  who  never  want  respons 
ibility,  give  your  souls  to  some  church.  You,  who 
never  want  the  feeling  that  you  are  under  obligation 
to  yourselves,  give  your  souls  away.  But  if  you  are 
willing  to  feel  and  meet  responsibility  ;  if  you  feel 
that  you  must  give  an  account  not  only  to  yourselves 
but  to  every  human  being  whom  you  injure,  then 
you  must  be  free.  Where  there  is  no  freedom,  there 
can  be  no  responsibility. 

It  is  a  mystery  to  me  why  the  editors  of  religious 
papers  are  so  malicious,  why  they  endeavor  to 
answer  argument  with  calumny.  Is  it  because  they 
feel  the  sceptre  slowly  slipping  from  their  hands  ? 
Is  it  the  result  of  impotent  rage  ?  Is  it  because 
there  is  being  written  upon  every  orthodox  brain  a 
certificate  of  intellectual  inferiority  ? 

This  same  editor  assures  his  readers  that  what  I 


say  is  not  worth  answering,  and  yet  he  devotes  col 
umn  after  column  of  his  journal  to  that  very  purpose. 
He  states  that  I  am  no  speaker,  no  orator  ;  and  upon 
the  same  page  admits  that  he  did  not  hear  me,  giv 
ing  as  a  reason  that  he  does  not  think  it  right  to  pay 
money  for  such  a  purpose.  Recollect,  that  in  a 
religious  paper,  a  man  who  professes  honesty,  criti 
cises  a  statue  or  a  painting,  condemns  it,  and  at  the 
end  of  the  criticism  says  that  he  never  saw  it.  He 
criticises  what  he  calls  the  oratory  of  a  man,  and  at 
the  end  says,  "  I  never  heard  him,  and  I  never  saw 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  I  have  never  heard  of  any 
of  these  gentlemen  who  thought  it  necessary  to  hear 
what  any  man  said  in  order  to  answer  him. 

The  next  gentleman  who  answered  me  is  the  Rev. 
Mr.  Ijams.  And  I  must  say, so  far  as  I  can  see,  in 
his  argument,  or  in  his  mode  of  treatment,  he  is  a 
kind  and  considerate  gentleman.  He  makes  several 
mistakes  as  to  what  I  really  said,  but  the  fault  I 
suppose  must  have  been  in  the  report.  I  am  made 
to  say  in  the  report  of  his  sermon,  "  There  is  no 
sacred  place  in  all  the  universe."  What  I  did  say 
was,  "  There  is  no  sacred  place  in  all  the  universe 
of  thought.  There  is  nothing  too  holy  to  be  investi 
gated,  nothing  too  divine  to  be  understood.  The 


fields  of  thought  are  fenceless,  and  without  a  wall." 
I  say  this  to-night. 

Mr.  Ijams  also  says  that  I  had  declared  that  man 
had  not  only  the  right  to  do  right,  but  also  the  right 
to  do  wrong.  What  I  really  said  was,  man  has  the 
right  to  do  right,  and  the  right  to  think  right,  and 
the  right  to  think  wrong.  Thought  is  a  means  of 
ascertaining  truth,  a  mode  by  which  we  arrive  at 
conclusions.  And  if  no  one  has  a  right  to  think, 
unless  he  thinks  right,  he  would  only  have  the  right 
to  think  upon  self-evident  propositions.  In  all  re 
spects,  with  the  exception  of  these  misstatements  to 
which  I  have  called  your  attention,  so  far  as  I  can 
see,  Mr.  Ijams  was  perfectly  fair,  and  treated  me  as 
though  I  had  the  ordinary  rights  of  a  human  being. 
I  take  this  occasion  to  thank  him. 

A  great  many  papers,  a  great  many  people,  a 
good  many  ministers  and  a  multitude  of  men,  have 
had  their  say,  and  have  expressed  themselves  with 
the  utmost  freedom.  I  cannot  reply  to  them  all.  I 
can  only  reply  to  those  who  have  made  a  parade  of 
answering  me.  Many  have  said  it  is  not  worth 
answering,  and  then  proceeded  to  answer.  They 
have  said,  he  has  produced  no  argument,  and  then 
have  endeavored  to  refute  it.  They  have  said  it  is 
simply  the  old  straw  that  has  been  thrashed  over 


and  over  again  for  years  and  years.  If  all  I  have 
said  is  nothing,  if  it  is  all  idle  and  foolish,  why  do 
they  take  up  the  time  of  their  fellow-men  replying  to 
me  ?  Why  do  they  fill  their  religious  papers  with 
criticisms,  if  all  I  have  said  and  done  reminds  them, 
according  to  the  Rev.  Mr.  Guard,  of  "  some  little 
dog  barking  at  a  railway  train  "  ?  Why  stop  the 
train,  why  send  for  the  directors,  why  hold  a  con 
sultation  and  finally  say,  we  must  settle  with  that 
dog  or  stop  running  these  cars  ? 

Probably  the  best  way  to  answer  them  all,  is  to 
prove  beyond  cavil  the  truth  of  what  I  have  said. 




IF  this  "  sacred  "  book  teaches  man  to  enslave  his 
brother,  it  is  not  inspired.  A  god  who  would 
establish  slavery  is  as  cruel  and  heartless  as  any 
devil  could  be. 

"  Moreover,  of  the  children  of  the  strangers  that 
do  sojourn  among  you,  of  them  shall  ye  buy,  and 
of  their  families  that  are  with  you,  which  they  begat 
in  your  land,  and  they  shall  be  your  possession. 

"And  ye  shall  take  them  as  an  inheritance  for  your 
children  after  you,  to  inherit  them  for  a  possession. 
They  shall  be  your  bondmen  forever. 

"  Both  thy  bondmen,  and  thy  bondmaids,  which 
thou  shalt  have,  shall  be  of  the  heathen  that  are 
round  about  you  ;  of  them  shall  ye  buy  bondmen 
and  bondmaids." — Leviticus  xxv. 

This  is  white  slavery.  This  allows  one  white 
man  to  buy  another,  to  buy  a  woman,  to  separate 
families  and  rob  a  mother  of  her  child.  This  makes 



the  whip  upon  the  naked  backs  of  men  and  women 
a  legal  tender  for  labor  performed.  This  is  the 
kind  of  slavery  established  by  the  most  merciful 
God.  The  reason  given  for  all  this,  is,  that  the 
persons  whom  they  enslaved  were  heathen.  You 
may  enslave  them  because  they  are  not  orthodox. 
If  you  can  find  anybody  who  does  not  believe  in  me, 
the  God  of  the  Jews,  you  may  steal  his  wife  from 
his  arms,  and  her  babe  from  the  cradle.  If  you  can 
find  a  woman  that  does  not  believe  in  the  Hebrew 
Jehovah,  you  may  steal  her  prattling  child  from  her 
breast.  Can  any  one  conceive  of  anything  more 
infamous?  Can  any  one  find  in  the  literature  of 
this  world  more  frightful  words  ascribed  even  to  a 
demon  ?  And  all  this  is  found  in  that  most  beautiful 
and  poetic  chapter  known  as  the  25th  of  Leviticus— 
from  the  Bible — from  this  sacred  gift  of  God — this 
"  Magna  Charta  of  human  freedom." 

2.  "  If  thou  buy  an  Hebrew  servant,  six  years  he 
shall  serve  ;  and  in  the  seventh  he  shall  go  out  free 
for  nothing. 

3.  "  If  he  came  in  by  himself,  he  shall  go  out  by 
himself:  if  he  were  married,  then  his  wife  shall  go 
out  with  him. 

4.  "  If  his  master  have  given  him  a  wife,  and  she 
hath  borne  him  sons  or  daughters  ;  the  wife  and  her 


children  shall  be  her  master's,  and  he  shall  go  out 
by  himself. 

5.  "  And  if  the  servant  shall  plainly  say,  I  love 
my  master,  my  wife,  and  children  ;  I  will  not  go  out 
free  : 

6.  "Then   his  master  shall  bring  him  unto  the 
judges  :  he  shall  also  bring  him  to  the  door,  or  unto 
the  door-post ;  and  his  master  shall  bore  his  ear 
through  with  an  awl ;  and  he  shall  serve  him  for 
ever." — Exodus,  xxi. 

The  slave  is  allowed  to  have  his  liberty  if  he  will 
give  up  his  wife  and  children.  He  must  remain  in 
slavery  for  the  sake  of  wife  and  child.  This  is 
another  of  the  laws  of  the  most  merciful  God.  This 
God  changes  even  love  into  a  chain.  Children  are 
used  by  him  as  manacles  and  fetters,  and  wives 
become  the  keepers  of  prisons.  Any  man  who 
believes  that  such  hideous  laws  were  made  by  an 
infinitely  wise  and  benevolent  God  is,  in  my  judg 
ment,  insane  or  totally  depraved. 

These  are  the  doctrines  of  the  Old  Testament. 
What  is  the  doctrine  of  the  New  ?  What  message 
had  he  who  came  from  heaven's  throne  for  the 
oppressed  of  earth  ?  What  words  of  sympathy, 
what  words  of  cheer,  for  those  who  labored  and 
toiled  without  reward  ?  Let  us  see  : 


"  Servants,  be  obedient  to  them  that  are  your 
masters,  according  to  the  flesh,  with  fear  and 
trembling,  in  singleness  of  your  heart,  as  unto 
Christ." — Ephesians,  vi. 

This  is  the  salutation  of  the  most  merciful  God  to 
a  slave,  to  a  woman  who  has  been  robbed  of  her 
child — to  a  man  tracked  by  hounds  through  lonely 
swamps — to  a  girl  with  flesh  torn  and  bleeding — to 
a  mother  weeping  above  an  empty  cradle. 

"  Servants,  be  subject  to  your  masters  with  all 
fear ;  not  only  to  the  good  and  gentle,  but  also  to 
the  fro  ward." — /  Peter  ii.,  18. 

"  For  this  is  thankworthy,  if  a  man  for  conscience 
toward  God  endure  grief,  suffering  wrongfully." — 
i  Peter  ii.t  19. 

It  certainly  must  be  an  immense  pleasure  to  God 
to  see  a  man  work  patiently  for  nothing.  It  must 
please  the  Most  High  to  see  a  slave  with  his  wife 
and  child  sold  upon  the  auction  block.  If  this  slave 
escapes  from  slavery  and  is  pursued,  how  musical 
the  baying  of  the  bloodhound  must  be  to  the  ears 
of  this  most  merciful  God.  All  this  is  simply 
infamous.  On  the  throne  of  this  universe  there  sits 
no  such  monster. 

"  Servants,  obey  in  all  things  your  masters,  ac 
cording  to  the  flesh  ;  not  with  eye-service,  as  men 


pleasers  ;  but  in  singleness  of  heart,  fearing  God." 
—  Col.  Hi.,  22. 

The  apostle  here  seems  afraid  that  the  slave 
would  not  work  every  moment  that  his  strength 
permitted.  He  really  seems  to  have  feared  that  he 
might  not  at  all  times  do  the  very  best  he  could  to 
promote  the  interests  of  the  thief  who  claimed  to 
own  him.  And  speaking  to  all  slaves,  in  the  name 
of  the  Father  of  All,  this  apostle  says  :  "  Obey  in  all 
things  your  masters,  not  with  eye-service,  but  with 
singleness  of  heart,  fearing  God."  He  says  to  them 
in  substance,  There  is  no  way  you  can  so  well  please 
God  as  to  work  honestly  for  a  thief. 

1.  "Let  as    many    servants    as   are    under    the 
yoke  count  their  own   masters  worthy  of  all  honor, 
that  the  name  of  God  and  his  doctrine  be  not  blas 

Think  of  serving  God  by  honoring  a  robber! 
Think  of  bringing  the  name  and  doctrine  of 
God  into  universal  contempt  by  claiming  to  own 

2.  "  And   they   that  have  believing   masters,  let 
them   not  despise  them,  because  they  are  brethren  ; 
but  rather  do  them  service,  because  they  are  faithful 
and  beloved,  partakers  of  the  benefit.     These  things 
teach  and  exhort." 


That  is  to  say,  do  not  despise  Christians  who  steal 
the  labor  of  others.  Do  not  hold  in  contempt  the 
"  faithful  and  beloved,  partakers  of  the  benefit,"  who 
turn  the  cross  of  Christ  into  a  whipping  post. 

3.  "  If   any   man   teach   otherwise,    and  consent 
not   to    wholesome   words   even  to    words  of   our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  to   the    doctrine    which    is 
according  to  godliness  ; 

4.  "  He   is  proud,  knowing  nothing,  but  doting 
about  questions  and  strifes  of  words,  whereof  cometh 
envy,  strife,  railings,  evil  surmisings, 

5.  "  Perverse  disputings  of  men  of  corrupt  minds, 
and  destitute  of  the  truth,   supposing  that  gain  is 
godliness  :  from  such  withdraw  thyself." 

This  seems  to  be  the  opinion  the  apostles  enter 
tained  of  the  early  abolitionists.  Seeking  to  give 
human  beings  their  rights,  seeking  to  give  labor  its 
just  reward,  seeking  to  clothe  all  men  with  that 
divine  garment  of  the  soul,  Liberty, — all  this  was  de 
nounced  by  the  apostle  as  a  simple  strife  of  words, 
whereof  cometh  envy,  railings,  evil  surmisings  and 
perverse  disputing,  destitute  of  truth. 

6.  "  But  godliness   with    contentment    is    great 

7.  "  For   we   brought   nothing    into    this   world, 
and  it  is  certain  we  can  carry  nothing  out. 


8.  "  And  having  food  and  raiment  let  us  be 
therewith  content."—/  Tim.,  vi. 

This  was  intended  to  make  a  slave  satisfied  to  hear 
the  clanking  of  his  chains.  This  is  the  reason  he 
should  never  try  to  better  his  condition.  He  should 
be  contented  simply  with  the  right  to  work  for  noth 
ing.  If  he  only  had  food  and  raiment,  and  a  thief  to 
work  for,  he  should  be  contented.  He  should  solace 
himself  with  the  apostolic  reflection,  that  as  he 
brought  nothing  into  the  world,  he  could  carry  noth 
ing  out,  and  that  when  dead  he  would  be  as  happily 
situated  as  his  master. 

In  order  to  show  you  what  the  inspired  writer 
meant  by  the  word  servant,  I  will  read  from  the  2ist 
chapter  of  Exodus,  verses  20  and  2 1  : 

"  And  if  a  man  smite  his  servant,  or  his  maid,  with 
a  rod,  and  he  die  under  his  hand  ;  he  shall  be  surely 

"  Notwithstanding,  if  he  continue  a  day  or  two,  he 
shall  not  be  punished  :  for  he  is  his  money." 

Yet,  notwithstanding  these  passages  the  Christian 
Advocate  says,  "  the  Bible  is  the  Magna  Charta  of 
our  liberty." 

After  reading  that,  I  was  not  surprised  by  the 
following  in  the  same  paper  : 

"  We  regret  to  record  that  Ingersoll  is  on  a  low 


plane  of  infidelity  and  atheism,  not  less  offensive  to 
good  morals  than  have  been  the  teachings  of  infidel 
ity  during  the  last  century.  France  has  been  cursed 
with  such  teachings  for  a  hundred  years,  and  because 
of  it,  to-day  her  citizens  are  incapable  of  self- 

What  was  the  condition  of  France  a  century  ago  ? 
Were  they  capable  of  self-government  then  ?  For 
fourteen  hundred  years  the  common  people  of 
France  had  suffered.  For  fourteen  hundred  years 
they  had  been  robbed  by  the  altar  and  by  the  throne. 
They  had  been  the  prey  of  priests  and  nobles.  All 
were  exempt  from  taxation,  except  the  common 
people.  The  cup  of  their  suffering  was  full,  and  the 
French  people  arose  in  fury  and  frenzy,  and  tore  the 
drapery  from  the  altars  of  God,  and  filled  the  air 
with  the  dust  of  thrones. 

Surely,  the  slavery  of  fourteen  centuries  had  not 
been  produced  by  the  teachings  of  Voltaire.  I  stood 
only  a  little  while  ago  at  the  place  where  once  stood 
the  Bastile.  In  my  imagination  I  saw  that  prison 
standing  as  it  stood  of  yore.  I  could  see  it  attacked 
by  the  populace.  I  could  see  their  stormy  faces  and 
hear  their  cries.  And  I  saw  that  ancient  fortification 
of  tyranny  go  down  forever.  And  now  where  once 
stood  the  Bastile  stands  the  Column  of  July.  Upon 


its  summit  is  a  magnificent  statue  of  Liberty,  hold 
ing  in  one  hand  a  banner,  in  the  other  a  broken 
chain,  and  upon  its  shining  forehead  is  the  star  of 
progress.  There  it  stands  where  once  stood  the 
Bastile.  And  France  is  as  much  superior  to  what  it 
was  when  Voltaire  was  born,  as  that  statue,  sur 
mounting  the  Column  of  July,  is  more  beautiful  than 
the  Bastile  that  stood  there  once  with  its  cells  of 
darkness,  and  its  dungeons  of  horror. 

And  yet  we  are  now  told  that  the  French  people 
have  rendered  themselves  incapable  of  government, 
simply  because  they  have  listened  to  the  voice  of  pro 
gress.  There  are  magnificent  men  in  France.  From 
that  country  have  come  to  the  human  race  some  of 
the  grandest  and  holiest  messages  the  ear  of  man  has 
ever  heard.  The  French  people  have  given  to 
history  some  of  the  most  touching  acts  of  self- 
sacrifice  ever  performed  beneath  the  amazed  stars. 

For  my  part,  I  admire  the  French  people.  I  can 
not  forget  the  Rue  San  Antoine,  nor  the  red  cap  of 
liberty.  I  can  never  cease  to  remember  that  the 
tricolor  was  held  aloft  in  Paris,  while  Europe  was  in 
chains,  and  while  liberty,  with  a  bleeding  breast,  was 
in  the  Inquisition  of  Spain.  And  yet  we  are  now 
told  by  a  religious  paper,  that  France  is  not  capable 
of  self-government.  I  suppose  it  was  capable  of 


self-government  under  the  old  regime,  at  the  time 
of  the  massacre  of  St.  Bartholomew.  I  suppose  it 
was  capable  of  self-government  when  women  were 
seen  yoked  with  cattle  pulling  plows.  I  suppose  it 
was  capable  of  self-government  when  all  who  labored 
were  in  a  condition  of  slavery. 

In  the  old  times,  even  among  the  priests,  there 
were  some  good,  some  sincere  and  most  excellent 
men.  I  have  read  somewhere  of  a  sermon  preached 
by  one  of  these  in  the  Cathedral  of  Notre  Dame. 
This  old  priest,  among  other  things,  said  that  the 
soul  of  a  beggar  was  as  dear  to  God  as  the  soul  of 
the  richest  of  his  people,  and  that  Jesus  Christ  died 
as  much  for  a  beggar  as  for  a  prince.  One  French 
peasant,  rough  with  labor,  cried  out :  "  I  propose 
three  cheers  for  Jesus  Christ."  I  like  such  things. 
I  like  to  hear  of  them.  I  like  to  repeat  them.  Paris 
has  been  a  kind  of  volcano,  and  has  made  the 
heavens  lurid  with  its  lava  of  hatred,  but  it  has  also 
contributed  more  than  any  other  city  to  the  intel 
lectual  development  of  man.  France  has  produced 
some  infamous  men,  among  others  John  Calvin,  but 
for  one  Calvin,  she  has  produced  a  thousand  bene 
factors  of  the  human  race. 

The  moment  the  French  people  rise  above  the 
superstitions  of  the  church,  they  will  be  in  the 


highest  sense  capable  of  self-government.  The 
moment  France  succeeds  in  releasing  herself  from 
the  coils  of  Catholicism — from  the  shadows  of  super 
stition — from  the  foolish  forms  and  mummeries  of 
the  church — from  the  intellectual  tyranny  of  a 
thousand  years — she  will  not  only  be  capable  of 
self-government,  but  will  govern  herself.  Let  the 
priests  be  usefully  employed.  We  want  no  over 
seers  of  the  mind  ;  no  slave-drivers  for  the  soul. 
We  cannot  afford  to  pay  hypocrites  for  depriving  us 
of  liberty.  It  is  a  waste  of  money  to  pay  priests  to 
frighten  our  children,  and  paralyze  the  intellect  of 



FOR  hundreds  of  years  it  was  contended  by  all 
Christians  that  the  earth  was  made  in  six  days, 
literal  days  of  twenty-four  hours  each,  and  that  on 
the  seventh  day  the  Lord  rested  from  his  labor. 
Geologists  have  driven  the  church  from  this  position, 
and  it  is  now  claimed  that  the  days  mentioned  in  the 
Bible  are  periods  of  time.  This  is  a  simple  evasion, 
not  in  any  way  supported  by  the  Scriptures.  The 
Bible  distinctly  and  clearly  says  that  the  world 
was  created  in  six  days.  There  is  not  within  its 
lids  a  clearer  statement.  It  does  not  say  six  periods. 
It  was  made  according  to  that  book  in  six  days  : 

31.  "  And  God  saw  everything  that  he  had  made, 
and,  behold,  it  was  very  good.  And  the  evening 
and  the  morning  were  the  sixth  day." — Genesis  i. 

1.  "  Thus  the  heavens  and  the  earth  were  finished, 
and  all  the  host  of  them. 

2.  "  And  on  the  seventh  day  God  ended  his  work 



which  he  had  made  ;  and  he  rested  on  the  seventh 
day  from  all  his  work  which  he  had  made. 

3.  "  And  God  blessed  the  seventh  day  (not 
seventh  period),  and  sanctified  it ;  because  that  in  it 
he  had  rested  from  all  his  work  which  God  created 
and  made." — Genesis  ii. 

From  the  following  passages  it  seems  clear  what 
was  meant  by  the  word  days  : 

1 5.  "Six  days  may  work  be  done;    but  in  the 
seventh  is  the   Sabbath  of  rest,  holy  to  the  Lord : 
whosoever  doeth  any  work  in  the  Sabbath  day,  he 
shall  surely  be  put  to  death." — Served  him  right ! 

1 6.  "  Wherefore,  the  children  of  Israel  shall  keep 
the   Sabbath,  to  observe    the    Sabbath,  throughout 
their  generations,  for  a  perpetual  covenant. 

17.  "  It  is  a  sign  between  me  and  the  children  of 
Israel  forever  ;  for  in  six  days  the  Lord  made  heaven 
and  earth,  and  on  the  seventh  day  he  rested  and 
was  refreshed. 

1 8.  "  And  he  gave  unto  Moses,  when   he   had 
made  an  end  of  communing  with  him   upon  Mount 
Sinai,  two  tables  of  testimony,  tables  of  stone,  writ 
ten  with  the  finger  of  God." — Exodus  xxxi. 

12.  "  Then  spake  Joshua  to  the  Lord  in  the  day 
when  the  Lord  delivered  up  the  Amorites  before  the 
children  of  Israel,  and  he  said  in  the  sight  of  Israel, 


Sun,  stand  thou  still  upon  Gibeon,  and  thou,  Moon, 
in  the  valley  of  Ajalon. 

13.  "And  the  sun  stood  still,  and  the  moon  stay 
ed,  until  the  people  had  avenged  themselves  upon 
their   enemies.     Is    not   this   written    in  the    book 
ofjasher?     So  the  sun  stood  still  in  the  midst  of 
heaven  ;  and  hasted  not  to  go  down  about  a  whole 

14.  "And  there  was  no  day  like  that  before  it  or 
after  it,  that  the  Lord  hearkened  unto  the  voice  of  a 
man  :  for  the  Lord  fought  for  Israel." — Josh.  x. 

These  passages  must  certainly  convey  the  idea 
that  this  world  was  made  in  six  days,  not  six  periods. 
And  the  reason  why  they  were  to  keep  the  Sabbath 
was  because  the  Creator  rested  on  the  seventh  day 
— not  period.  If  you  say  six  periods,  instead  of  six 
days,  what  becomes  of  your  Sabbath  ?  The  only 
reason  given  in  the  Bible  for  observing  the  Sabbath 
is  that  God  observed  it — that  he  rested  from  his 
work  that  day  and  was  refreshed.  Take  this  reason 
away  and  the  sacredness  of  that  day  has  no  founda 
tion  in  the  Scriptures. 



WHEN  people  were  ignorant  of  all  the  sciences 
the  Bible  was  understood  by  those  who 
read  it  the  same  as  by  those  who  wrote  it.  From 
time  to  time  discoveries  were  made  that  seemed 
inconsistent  with  the  Scriptures.  At  first,  theolo 
gians  denounced  the  discoverers  of  all  facts  incon 
sistent  with  the  Bible,  as  atheists  and  scoffers. 

The  Bible  teaches  us  that  the  earth  is  the  centre  of 
the  universe ;  that  the  sun  and  moon  and  stars 
revolve  around  this  speck  called  the  earth.  The 
men  who  discovered  that  all  this  was  a  mistake 
were  denounced  by  the  ignorant  clergy  of  that  day, 
precisely  as  the  ignorant  clergy  of  our  time  denounce 
the  advocates  of  free  thought.  When  the  doctrine 
of  the  earth's  place  in  the  solar  system  was  demon 
strated  ;  when  persecution  could  no  longer  conceal 
the  mighty  truth,  then  it  was  that  the  church  made 
an  effort  to  harmonize  the  Scriptures  with  the 



discoveries  of  science.  When  the  utter  absurdity 
of  the  Mosaic  account  of  creation  became  apparent 
to  all  thoughtful  men,  the  church  changed  the  read 
ing  of  the  Bible.  Then  it  was  pretended  that  the 
"  days "  of  creation  were  vast  periods  of  time. 
When  it  was  shown  to  be  utterly  impossible  that  the 
sun  revolved  around  the  earth,  then  the  account 
given  by  Joshua  of  the  sun  standing  still  for  the 
space  of  a  whole  day,  was  changed  into  a  figure  of 
speech.  It  was  said  that  Joshua  merely  conformed 
to  the  mode  of  speech  common  in  his  day  ;  and  that 
when  he  said  the  sun  stood  still,  he  merely  intended 
to  convey  the  idea  that  the  earth  ceased  turning 
upon  its  axis.  They  admitted  that  stopping  the 
sun  could  not  lengthen  the  day,  and  for  that  reason 
it  must  have  been  the  earth  that  stopped.  But  you 
will  remember  that  the  moon  stood  still  in  the  valley 
of  Ajalon — that  the  moon  stayed  until  the  people 
had  avenged  themselves  upon  their  enemies. 

One  would  naturally  suppose  that  the  sun  would 
have  given  sufficient  light  to  enable  the  Jews  to 
avenge  themselves  upon  their  enemies  without  any 
assistance  from  the  moon.  Of  course,  if  the  moon 
had  not  stopped,  the  relations  between  the  earth  and 
moon  would  have  been  changed. 

Is  there  a  sensible  man  in  the  world  who  believes 


this  wretched  piece  of  ignorance  ?  Is  it  possible 
that  the  religion  of  this  nineteenth  century  has  for  its 
basis  such  childish  absurdities  ?  According  to  this 
account,  what  was  the  sun,  or  rather  the  earth, 
stopped  for?  It  was  stopped  in  order  that  the 
Hebrews  might  avenge  themselves  upon  the  Amor- 
ites.  For  the  accomplishment  of  such  a  purpose  the 
earth  was  made  to  pause.  Why  should  an  almost 
infinite  force  be  expended  simply  for  the  purpose  of 
destroying  a  handful  of  men  ?  Why  this  waste  of 
force  ?  Let  me  explain.  I  strike  my  hands  to 
gether.  They  feel  a  sudden  heat.  Where  did  the 
heat  come  from  ?  Motion  has  been  changed  into 
heat.  You  will  remember  that  there  can  be  no 
destruction  of  force.  It  disappears  in  one  form  only 
to  reappear  in  another.  The  earth,  rotating  at  the 
rate  of  one  thousand  milesan  hour,  was  stopped.  The 
motion  of  this  vast  globe  would  have  instantly  been 
changed  into  heat.  It  has  been  calculated  by  one  of 
the  greatest  scientists  of  the  present  day  that  to  stop 
the  earth  would  generate  as  much  heat  as  could  be 
produced  by  burning  a  world  as  large  as  this  of  solid 
coal.  And  yet,  all  this  force  was  expended  for  the 
paltry  purpose  of  defeating  a  few  poor  barbarians. 
The  employment  of  so  much  force  for  the  accom 
plishment  of  so  insignificant  an  object  would  be  as 


useless  as  bringing  all  the  intellect  of  a  great  man  to 
bear  in  answering  the  arguments  of  the  clergymen  of 
San  Francisco. 

The  waste  of  that  immense  force  in  stopping  the 
planets  in  their  grand  courses,  for  the  purpose 
claimed,  would  be  like  using  a  Krupp  gun  to  destroy 
an  insect  to  which  a  single  drop  of  water  is  "  an 
unbounded  world."  How  is  it  possible  for  men  of 
ordinary  intellect,  not  only  to  endorse  such  ignorant 
falsehoods,  but  to  malign  those  who  do  not  ?  Can 
anything  be  more  debasing  to  the  intellect  of  man 
than  a  belief  in  the  astronomy  of  the  Bible  ?  Ac 
cording  to  the  Scriptures,  the  world  was  made  out 
of  nothing,  and  the  sun,  moon,  and  stars,  of  the 
nothing  that  happened  to  be  left.  To  the  writers 
of  the  Bible  the  firmament  was  solid,  and  in  it  were 
grooves  along  which  the  stars  were  pushed  by 
angels.  From  the  Bible  Cosmas  constructed  his 
geography  and  astronomy.  His  book  was  passed 
upon  by  the  church,  and  was  declared  to  be  the 
truth  concerning  the  subjects  upon  which  he  treated. 

This  eminent  geologist  and  astronomer,  taking 
the  Bible  as  his  guide,  found  and  taught :  First, 
that  the  earth  was  flat ;  second,  that  it  was  a  vast 
parallelogram  ;  third,  that  in  the  middle  there  was 
a  vast  body  of  land,  then  a  strip  of  water  all  around 


it,  then  a  strip  of  land.  He  thought  that  on  the 
outer  strip  of  land  people  lived  before  the  flood — 
that  at  the  time  of  the  flood,  Noah  in  his  Ark 
crossed  the  strip  of  water  and  landed  on  the  shore 
of  the  country,  in  the  middle  of  the  world,  where  we 
now  are.  This  great  biblical  scholar  informed  the 
true  believers  of  his  day  that  in  the  outer  strip  of 
land  were  mountains,  around  which  the  sun  and 
moon  revolved  ;  that  when  the  sun  was  on  the  side 
of  the  mountain  next  the  land  occupied  by  man,  it 
was  day,  and  when  on  the  other  side,  it  was 

Mr.  Cosmas  believed  the  Bible,  and  regarded 
Joshua  as  the  most  eminent  astronomer  of  his  day. 
He  also  taught  that  the  firmament  was  solid,  and 
that  the  angels  pushed  and  drew  the  stars.  He 
tells  us  that  these  angels  attended  strictly  to  their 
business,  that  each  one  watched  the  motions  of  all 
the  others  so  that  proper  distances  might  always  be 
maintained,  and  all  confusion  avoided.  All  this  was 
believed  by  the  gentlemen  who  made  most  of  our 
religion.  The  great  argument  made  by  Cosmas  to 
show  that  the  earth  must  be  flat,  was  the  fact  that 
the  Bible  stated  that  when  Christ  should  come  the 
second  time,  in  glory,  the  whole  world  should  see 
him.  "  Now,"  said  Cosmas,  "  if  the  world  is  round, 


how  could  the  people  on  the  other  side  see  the 
Lord  when  he  comes  ?  "  This  settled  the  question. 

These  were  the  ideas  of  the  fathers  of  the  church. 
These  men  have  been  for  centuries  regarded  as 
almost  divinely  inspired.  Long  after  they  had 
become  dust  they  governed  the  world.  The  super 
stitions  they  planted,  their  descendants  watered  with 
the  best  and  bravest  blood.  To  maintain  their 
ignorant  theories,  the  brain  of  the  world  was  dwarfed 
for  a  thousand  years,  and  the  infamous  work  is  still 
being  prosecuted. 

The  Bible  was  regarded  as  not  only  true,  but  as 
the  best  of  all  truth.  Any  new  theory  advanced, 
was  immediately  examined  in  the  light,  or  rather  in 
the  darkness,  of  revelation,  and  if  according  to  that 
test  it  was  false,  it  was  denounced,  and  the  person 
bringing  it  forward  forced  to  recant.  It  would  have 
been  a  far  better  course  to  have  discovered  every 
theory  found  to  be  in  harmony  with  the  Scriptures. 

And  yet  we  are  told  by  the  clergy  and  religious 
press  of  this  city,  that  the  Bible  is  the  foundation  of 
all  science. 


v.  .  /> 

IT  was  said  by  Sir  Thomas  More  that  to  give  up 
witchcraft  was  to  give  up  the  Bible  itself.  This 
idea  was  entertained  by  nearly  all  the  eminent 
theologians  of  a  hundred  years  ago.  In  my  judg 
ment,  they  were  right.  To  give  up  witchcraft  is  to 
give  up,  in  a  great  degree  at  least,  the  supernatural. 
To  throw  away  the  little  ghosts  simply  prepares  the 
mind  of  man  to  give  up  the  great  ones.  The 
founders  of  nearly  all  creeds,  and  of  all  religions 
properly  so-called,  have  taught  the  existence  of 
good  and  evil  spirits.  They  have  peopled  the  dark 
with  devils  and  the  light  with  angels.  They  have 
crowded  hell  with  demons  and  heaven  with  seraphs. 
The  moment  these  good  and  evil  spirits,  these  angels 
and  fiends,  disappear  from  the  imaginations  of  men, 
and  phenomena  are  accounted  for  by  natural  rather 
than  by  supernatural  means,  a  great  step  has  been 



taken  in  the  direction  of  what  is  now  known  as 
materialism.  While  the  church  believes  in  witch 
craft,  it  is  in  a  greatly  modified  form.  The  evil 
spirits  are  not  as  plenty  as  in  former  times,  and 
more  phenomena  are  accounted  for  by  natural 
means.  Just  to  the  extent  that  belief  has  been  lost 
in  spirits,  just  to  that  extent  the  church  has  lost  its 
power  and  authority.  When  men  ceased  to  account 
for  the  happening  of  any  event  by  ascribing  it  to 
the  direct  action  of  good  or  evil  spirits,  and  began 
to  reason  from  known  premises,  the  chains  of 
superstition  began  to  grow  weak.  Into  such  dis 
repute  has  witchcraft  at  last  fallen  that  many 
Christians  not  only  deny  the  existence  of  these  evil 
spirits,  but  take  the  ground  that  no  such  thing  is 
taught  in  the  Scriptures.  Let  us  see  : 

"Thou  shalt  not  suffer  a  witch  to  live." — Exodus 
xxii.,  18. 

7.  "  Then  said  Saul  unto  his  servants,  Seek  me  a 
woman  that  hath  a  familiar  spirit,  that  I  may  go  to 
her,  and  enquire  of  her.     And  his  servants  said  to 
him,  Behold,  there  is  a  woman  that  hath  a  spirit  at 

8.  "  And   Saul   disguised   himself,   and    put    on 
other  raiment,  and  he  went,  and  two  men  with  him, 
and  they  came  to  the  woman  by   night ;  and  he 


said,  I  pray  thee,  divine  unto  me  by  the  familiar 
spirit,  and  bring  me  him  up,  whom  I  shall  name 
unto  thee. 

9.  "  And  the  woman  said  unto  him,  Behold,  thou 
knowest  what  Saul  hath  done,  how  he  hath  cut  off 
those  that  have  familiar  spirits,  and  the  wizards  out 
of  the  land  ;  wherefore,  then,  layest  thou  a  snare 
for  my  life,  to  cause  me  to  die  ? 

10.  "  And  Saul  sware  to  her  by  the  Lord,  saying, 
As  the   Lord   liveth,   there   shall    no    punishment 
happen  to  thee  for  this  thing. 

11.  "Then  said  the  woman,  Whom  shall  I  bring 
up    unto    thee  ?       And    he    said,    Bring    me    up 

12.  "And   when   the   woman   saw   Samuel    she 
cried  with  a  loud  voice  :  and  the  woman  spake  to 
Saul,  saying,  Why  hast  thou  deceived  me  ?  for  thou 
art  Saul. 

13.  "  And  the  king  said  unto  her,  Be  not  afraid  : 
for  what  sawest  thou  ?     And  the  woman  said  unto 
Saul,  I  saw  gods  ascending  out  of  the  earth. 

14.  "  And  he  said  unto  her,  What  form  is  he  of? 
And  she  said,  An  old  man  cometh  up  ;  and  he  is 
covered  with  a  mantle.     And  Saul  perceived  that  it 
was  Samuel,  and  he  stooped  with  his  face  to  the 
ground,  and  bowed  himself. 


15  ^[.  "And  Samuel  said  to  Saul,  Why  hast 
thou  disquieted  me  to  bring  me  up  ?  " — 2  Samuel, 

This  reads  very  much  like  an  account  of  a  modern 
spiritual  seance.  Is  it  not  one  of  the  wonderful 
things  of  the  world  that  men  and  women  who 
believe  this  account  of  the  witch  of  Endor,  who 
believe  all  the  miracles  and  all  the  ghost  stories 
of  the  Bible,  deny  with  all  their  force  the  truth  of 
modern  Spiritualism.  So  far  as  I  am  concerned,  I 
would  rather  believe  some  one  who  has  heard  what 
he  relates,  who  has  seen  what  he  tells,  or  at  least 
thinks  he  has  seen  what  he  tells.  I  would  rather 
believe  somebody  I  know,  whose  reputation  for 
truth  is  good  among  those  who  know  him.  I  would 
rather  believe  these  people  than  to  take  the  words 
of  those  who  have  been  in  their  graves  for  four 
thousand  years,  and  about  whom  I  know  nothing. 

31  ^f.  "  Regard  not  them  that  have  familiar  spirits, 
neither  seek  after  wizards,  to  be  defiled  by  them  ;  I 
am  the  Lord,  your  God." — Leviticus  xix. 

6  ^f .  "  And  the  soul  that  turneth  after  such  as  have 
familiar  spirits,  and  after  wizards,  I  will  even  set  my 
face  against  that  soul,  and  will  cut  him  off  from 
among  his  people." — Leviticus  xx. 

10.  "  There  shall  not  be  found  among  you  any 


one  that  useth  divination,  or  an  observer  of  times, 
or  an  enchanter,  or  a  witch, 

11.  "  Or  a  charmer,  or  a  consulter  with  familiar 
spirits,  or  a  wizard,  or  a  necromancer. 

12.  "  For  all  that  do  these  things  are  an  abomina 
tion  unto  the  Lord." — Deut.  xviii. 

I  have  given  you  a  few  of  the  passages  found  in 
the  Old  Testament  upon  this  subject,  showing  con 
clusively  that  the  Bible  teaches  the  existence  of 
witches,  wizards  and  those  who  have  familiar  spirits. 
In  the  New  Testament  there  are  passages  equally 
strong,  showing  that  the  Savior  himself  was  a 
believer  in  the  existence  of  evil  spirits,  and  in  the 
existence  of  a  personal  devil.  Nothing  can  be 
plainer  than  the  teaching  of  the  following  : 

1.  "  Then  was  Jesus  led  up  of  the  spirit  into  the 
wilderness  to  be  tempted  of  the  devil. 

2.  "  And  when  he  had  fasted  forty  days  and  forty 
nights,  he  was  afterward  an  hungered. 

3.  "  And  when  the  tempter  came  to  him,  he  said, 
If  thou  be  the  Son  of  God,  command  that  these 
stones  be  made  bread. 

4.  "  But  he  answered  and  said,  It  is  written,  Man 
shall  not  live  by  bread  alone,  but  by  every  word 
that  proceedeth  out  of  the  mouth  of  God. 

5.  "  Then    the    devil    taketh    him   up   into    the 


holy  city,  and   setteth   him   on   a  pinnacle  of  the 

6.  "  And  saith  unto  him,  If  thou  be  the  Son  of 
God,  cast  thyself  down  :  for  it  is  written,  He  shall 
give   his   angels   charge    concerning   thee  :  and  in 
their  hands  they  shall  bear  thee  up,  lest  at  any  time 
thou  dash  thy  foot  against  a  stone. 

7.  "Jesus  said  unto  him,  It  is  written  again,  Thou 
shalt  not  tempt  the  Lord,  thy  God. 

8.  "  Again,    the    devil    taketh   him   up    into   an 
exceeding  high  mountain,  and  sheweth  him  all  the 
kingdoms  of  the  world,  and  the  glory  of  them  ; 

9.  "  And  saith  unto  him,  All  these  things  will  I 
give  thee,  if  thou  wilt  fall  down  and  worship  me. 

10.  "Then  saith  Jesus  unto  him,  Get  thee  hence, 
Satan  :  for  it  is  written,  Thou   shalt   worship  the 
Lord  thy  God,  and  him  only  shalt  thou  serve. 

11.  "Then  the  devil  leaveth  him,  and,  behold, 
angels  came  and  ministered  unto  him." — Matt.  iv. 

If  this  does  not  teach  the  existence  of  a  personal 
devil,  there  is  nothing  within  the  lids  of  the 
Scriptures  teaching  the  existence  of  a  personal  God. 
If  this  does  not  teach  the  existence  of  evil  spirits, 
there  is  nothing  in  the  Bible  going  to  show  that 
good  spirits  exist  either  in  this  world  or  the  next. 

1 6  ^[.  "When  the  even  was  come  they  brought 


unto  him  many  that  were  possessed  with  devils : 
and  he  cast  out  the  spirits  with  his  word,  and  healed 
all  that  were  sick." — Matt.  vii. 

1.  "  And  they  came  over  unto  the  other  side  of 
the  sea,  into  the  country  of  the  Gadarenes. 

2.  "  And  when  he  was  come  out  of  the   ship, 
immediately  there  met  him  out  of  the  tombs  a  man 
with  an  unclean  spirit, 

3.  "  Who   had  his  dwelling  among  the   tombs ; 
and  no  man  could  bind  him,  no,  not  with  chains  : 

4.  "  Because  that  he  had  been  often  bound  with 
fetters  and  chains,  and  the  chains  ha.d  been  plucked 
asunder  by  him,  and  the  fetters  broken  in  pieces  : 
neither  could  any  man  tame  him. 

5.  "  And  always,  night  and  day,  he  was  in  the 
mountains,  and  in  the  tombs,  crying  and  cutting 
himself  with  stones. 

6.  "  But  when  he  saw  Jesus  afar  off,  he  ran  and 
worshipped  him, 

7.  "  And  cried  with  a  loud  voice,  and  said,  What 
have  I  to  do  with  thee,  Jesus,  thou  son  of  the  most 
high  God  ?     I  adjure  thee  by  God,  that  thou  tor 
ment  me  not. 

8.  "  For  he  said  unto  him,  Come  out  of  the  man, 
thou  unclean  spirit. 

9.  "  And  he  asked  him,  What  is  thy  name  ?    And 


he  answered,  saying,  My  name  is  Legion,  for  we  are 

11.  "  Now,  there  was  nigh  unto  the  mountains  a 
great  herd  of  swine  feeding. 

12.  "And  all  the  devils  besought  him,   saying, 
Send  us  into  the  swine,  that  we  may  enter  into  them. 

13.  "  And  forthwith  Jesus  gave  them  leave.    And 
the  unclean  spirits  went  out,  and   entered  into  the 
swine  ;  and  the  herd   ran  violently  down  a  steep 
place  into  the  sea,  and  they  were  about  two  thou 
sand  ;  and  were  choked  in  the  sea." — Mark  v. 

The  doctrine  of  witchcraft  does  not  stop  here. 
The  power  of  casting  out  devils  was  bequeathed  by 
the  Savior  to  his  apostles  and  followers,  and  to  all 
who  might  believe  in  him  throughout  all  the  coming 
time  : 

17.  "  And  these   signs   shall   follow    them    that 
believe  :  In  my  name  shall  they  cast  out  devils  ; 
they  shall  speak  with  new  tongues  ; 

1 8.  "  And   they  shall  take  up  serpents  ;  and  if 
they  drink  any  deadly  thing,  it  shall  not  hurt  them  ; 
they  shall  lay  hands  on  the   sick   and  they  shall 
recover." — Mark  xvi. 

I  would  like  to  see  the  clergy  who  have  been 
answering  me,  tested  in  this  way  :  Let  them  drink 
poison,  let  them  take  up  serpents,  let  them  cure  the 


sick  by  the  laying  on   of  hands,   and   I   will  then 
believe  that  they  believe. 

I  deny  the  witchcraft  stories  of  the  world. 
Witches  are  born  in  the  ignorant,  frightened  minds 
of  men.  Reason  will  exorcise  them.  "  They  are 
tales  told  by  an  idiot,  full  of  sound  and  fury,  signify 
ing  nothing."  These  devils  have  covered  the  world 
with  blood  and  tears.  They  have  filled  the  earth 
with  fear.  They  have  filled  the  lives  of  children 
with  darkness  and  horror.  They  have  peopled  the 
sweet  world  of  imagination  with  mo.isters.  They 
have  made  religion  a  strange  mingling  of  fear  and 
ferocity.  I  am  doing  what  I  can  to  reave  the 
heavens  of  these  monsters.  For  my  part,  I  laugh 
at  them  all.  I  hold  them  all  in  contempt,  ancient 
and  modern,  great  and  small. 



ALL  religion  has  for  its  basis  the  tyranny  of 
God  and  the  slavery  of  man. 

1 8.  ^f  "  If  a  man  have  a  stubborn  and  rebellious 
son,  which  will  not  obey  the  voice  of  his  father,  or 
the  voice  of  his  mother,  and  that,  when  they  have 
chastened  him,  will  not  hearken  unto  them, 

19.  "Then  shall  his  father  and  his  mother  lay 
hold  on  him,  and  bring  him  out  unto  the  elders  of 
his  city,  and  unto  the  gate  of  his  place. 

20.  "  And  they  shall  say  unto  the  elders  of  his 
city,  This  our  son  is  stubborn  and  rebellious,  he 
will   not  obey  our  voice,  he  is  a  glutton  and  a 

21.  "  And  all  the  men  of  his  city  shall  stone  him 
with   stones,  that  he  die ;  so  shalt  thou  put  evil 
away  from  among  you  ;  and  all  Israel  shall  hear, 
and  fear." — Deut.  xxL 

Abraham  was  commanded  to  offer  his  son  Isaac 


as  a  sacrifice.  He  proceeded  to  obey.  And  the 
boy,  being  then  about  thirty  years  of  age,  was  not 
consulted.  At  the  command  of  a  phantom  of  the 
air,  a  man  was  willing  to  offer  upon  the  altar  his 
%  only  son.  And  such  was  the  slavery  of  children, 
that  the  only  son  had  not  the  spirit  to  resist. 

Have  you  ever  read  the  story  of  Jephthah  ? 

30  "  And  Jephthah  vowed  a  vow  unto  the  Lord, 
and  said,  "If  thou  shalt  without  fail  deliver  the 
children  of  Ammon  into  mine  hands, 

31.  "Then  it  shall  be,  that  whatsoever  cometh 
forth  of  the  doors  of  my  house  to  meet  me,  when  I 
return  in  peace  from  the  children  of  Ammon,  shall 
surely  be  the  Lord's,  and  I  will  offer  it  up  for  a 
burnt  offering. 

32.  ^[  "So  Jephthah  passed  over  unto  the  children 
of  Ammon  to  fight  against  them  ;  and  the  Lord  de 
livered  them  into  his  hands. 

33.  "  And  he  smote  them  from  Aroer,  even  till 
thou  come  to  Minnith,  even  twenty  cities,  and  unto 
the   plain   of    the    vineyards,   with   a    very    great 
slaughter.     Thus  the  children  of  Ammon  were  sub 
dued  before  the  children  of  Israel. 

34.  H"  "  And  Jephthah  came  to  Mizpeh  unto  his 
house,  and  behold,  his  daughter  came  out  to  meet 
him  with  timbrels  and  with  dances  ;  and  she  was 


his  only  child  ;  beside  her  he  had  neither  son  nor 

35.  "  And  it  came  to  pass,  when  he  saw  her,  that 
he  rent  his  clothes,  and  said,  Alas,  my  daughter ! 
thou  hast  brought  me  very  low,  and  thou  art  one  of 
them  that  trouble  me  :  for  I  have  opened  my  mouth 
unto  the  Lord,  and  I  cannot  go  back.  .  .  . 

39.  "And  it  came  to  pass  at  the  end  of  two  months, 
that  she  returned  unto  her  father,  who  did  with  her 
according  to  his  vow  which  he  had  vowed." — 
Judges  xi. 

Is  there  in  the  history  of  the  world  a  sadder 
thing  than  this  ?  What  can  we  think  of  a  father 
who  would  sacrifice  his  daughter  to  a  demon  God  ? 
And  what  can  we  think  of  a  God  who  would  accept 
such  a  sacrifice  ?  Can  such  a  God  be  worthy  of  the 
worship  of  man  ?  I  plead  for  the  rights  of  children. 
I  plead  for  the  government  of  kindness  and  love.  I 
p\ead  for  the  republic  of  home,  the  democracy  of 
the  fireside.  I  plead  for  affection.  And  for  this  I 
am  pursued  by  invective.  For  this  I  am  called  a 
fiend,  a  devil,  a  monster,  by  Christian  editors  and 
clergymen,  by  those  who  pretend  to  love  their 
enemies  and  pray  for  those  that  despitefully  use 

Allow  me  to  give  you  another  instance  of  affec- 


tion  related  in  the  Scriptures.  There  was,  it  seems, 
a  most  excellent  man  by  the  name  of  Job.  The 
Lord  was  walking  up  and  down,  and  happening  to 
meet  Satan,  said  to  him :  "  Are  you  acquainted 
with  my  servant  Job  ?  Have  you  noticed  what  an 
excellent  man  he  is  ?  "  And  Satan  replied  to  him 
and  said  :  "  Why  should  he  not  be  an  excellent 
man — you  have  given  him  everything  he  wants  ? 
Take  from  him  what  he  has  and  he  will  curse  you." 
And  thereupon  the  Lord  gave  Satan  the  power  to 
destroy  the  property  and  children  of  Job.  In  a 
little  while  these  high  contracting  parties  met 
again  ;  and  the  Lord  seemed  somewhat  elated  with 
his  success,  and  called  again  the  attention  of  Satan 
to  the  sinlessness  of  Job.  Satan  then  told  him  to 
touch  his  body  and  he  would  curse  him.  And 
thereupon  power  was  given  to  Satan  over  the  body 
of  Job,  and  he  covered  his  body  with  boils.  Yet  in 
all  this,  Job  did  not  sin  with  his  lips. 

This  book  seems  to  have  been  written  to  show 
the  excellence  of  patience,  and  to  prove  that  at  last 
God  will  reward  all  who  will  bear  the  afflictions  of 
heaven  with  fortitude  and  without  complaint.  The 
sons  and  daughters  of  Job  had  been  slain,  and  then 
the  Lord,  in  order  to  reward  Job,  gave  him  other 
children,  other  sons  and  other  daughters — not  the 


same  ones  he  had  lost  ;  but  others.  And  this,  ac 
cording  to  the  writer,  made  ample  amends.  Is  that 
the  idea  we  now  have  of  love  ?  If  I  have  a  child, 
no  matter  how  deformed  that  child  may  be,  and  if  it 
dies,  nobody  can  make  the  loss  to  me  good  by 
bringing  a  more  beautiful  child.  I  want  the  one  I 
loved  and  the  one  I  lost 


I  HAVE  said  that  the  Bible  is  a  barbarous  book  ; 
that  it  has  no  respect  for  the  rights  of  woman. 
Now  I  propose  to  prove  it.  It  takes  something 
besides  epithets  and  invectives  to  prove  or  disprove 
anything.  Let  us  see  what  the  sacred  volume  says 
concerning  the  mothers  and  daughters  of  the  human 

A  man  who  does  not  in  his  heart  of  hearts 
respect  woman,  who  has  not  there  an  altar  at  which 
he  worships  the  memory  of  mother,  is  less  than  a 

11.  "Let  the   woman  learn  in  silence   with   all 

12.  "  But  I  suffer  not  a  woman  to  teach,  nor  to 
usurp    authority    over    the    man,    but    to    be    in 

The  reason  given  for  this,  and  the  only  reason 
that  occurred  to  the  sacred  writer,  was  : 

13.  "  For  Adam  was  first  formed,  then  Eve. 



14.  "  And    Adam    was    not    deceived,    but    the 
woman  being  deceived  was  in  the  transgression. 

15.  "Notwithstanding,    she    shall    be    saved    in 
child-bearing,  if  they  continue   in  faith  and  charity 
and  holiness  with  sobriety." — /  Tim.  ii. 

3.  "  But  I  would  have  you  know,  that  the  head  of 
every  man  is  Christ ;  and  the  head  of  the  woman  is 
the  man  ;  and  the  head  of  Christ  is  God." 

That  is  to  say,  the  woman  sustains  the  same 
relation  to  the  man  that  man  does  to  Christ, 
and  man  sustains  the  same  relation  to  Christ  that 
Christ  does  to  God. 

This  places  the  woman  infinitely  below  the 
man.  And  yet  this  barbarous  idiocy  is  regarded 
as  divinely  inspired.  How  can  any  woman  look 
other  than  with  contempt  upon  such  passages  ? 
How  can  any  woman  believe  that  this  is  the  will  of 
a  most  merciful  God  ? 

7.  "  For  a  man,  indeed,  ought  not  to  cover  his 
head,  forasmuch  as  he   is  the  image   and  glory  of 
God  ;  but  the  woman  is  the  glory  of  man." 

And  this  is  justified  from  the  remarkable  fact  set 
forth  in  the  next  verse  : 

8.  "  For  the  man  is  not  of  the  woman  ;  but  the 
woman  of  the  man." 

This  same  chivalric  gentleman  also  says  : 


9.  "  Neither  was  the  man  created  for  the  woman  ; 
but  the  woman  for  the  man." — /  Cor.  xi. 

22.  "  Wives,  submit  yourselves  unto  your  own 
husbands,  as  unto  the  Lord." 

Is  it  possible  for  abject  obedience  to  go  beyond 
this  ? 

23.  "  For  the  husband  is  the  head  of  the  wife, 
even  as  Christ  is  the  head  of  the  Church,  and  he  is 
the  saviour  of  the  body. 

24.  "  Therefore,    as  the    Church  is   subject  unto 
Christ,  so  let  the  wives  be  to  their  own  husbands  in 
everything." — Eph.  v. 

Even  the  Savior  did  not  put  man  and  woman 
upon  an  equality.  A  man  could  divorce  his  wife,  but 
the  wife  could  not  divorce  her  husband. 

Every  noble  woman  should  hold  such  apostles 
and  such  ideas  in  contempt.  According  to  the  Old 
Testament,  woman  had  to  ask  pardon  and  had  to  be 
purified  from  the  crime  of  having  born  sons  and 
daughters.  To  make  love  and  maternity  crimes  is 

10.  "  When  thou  goest  forth  to  war  against  thine 
enemies,   and   the    Lord   thy    God   hath    delivered 
them  into  thine   hands,  and  thou  hast  taken  them 

11.  "  And  seest  among  the  captives  a  beautiful 


woman,  and  hast  a  desire  unto  her,  that  thou 
woultfest  have  her  to  thy  wife, 

1 2.  "  Then  thou  shalt  bring  her  home  to  thy 
house  ;  and  she  shall  shave  her  head,  and  pare  her 
nails." — Deut.  xxi. 

This  is  barbarism,  no  matter  whether  it  came  from 
heaven  or  from  hell,  from  a  God  or  from  a  devil, 
from  the  golden  streets  of  the  New  Jerusalem  or 
from  the  very  Sodom  of  perdition.  It  is  barbarism 
complete  and  utter. 


READ  the  infamous  order  of  Moses  in  the  3ist 
chapter  of  Numbers — an  order  unfit  to  be 
reproduced  in  print — an  order  which  I  am  unwilling 
to  repeat.  Read  the  3 1  st  chapter  of  Exodus.  Read 
the  2ist  chapter  of  Deuteronomy.  Read  the  life  of 
Abraham,  of  David,  of  Solomon,  of  Jacob,  and  then 
tell  me  the  sacred  Bible  does  not  teach  polygamy 
and  concubinage.  All  the  languages  of  the  world 
are  insufficient  to  express  the  filth  of  polygamy.  It 
makes  man  a  beast — woman  a  slave.  It  destroys  the 
fireside.  It  makes  virtue  an  outcast.  It  makes 
home  a  lair  of  wild  beasts.  It  is  the  infamy  of  in 
famies.  Yet  this  is  the  doctrine  of  the  Bible — a 
doctrine  defended  even  by  Luther  and  Melancthon. 
It  is  by  the  Bible  that  Brigham  Young  justifies  the 
practice  of  this  beastly  horror.  It  takes  from 
language  those  sweetest  words,  husband,  wife,  fathc 



mother,  child  and  lover.  It  takes  us  back  to  the 
barbarism  of  animals,  and  leaves  the  heart  a  den  in 
which  crawl  and  hiss  the  slimy  serpents  of  loathsome 
lust.  Yet  the  book  justifying  this  infamy  is  the  book 
upon  which  rests  the  civilization  of  the  nineteenth  cen 
tury.  And  because  I  denounce  this  frightful  thing,  the 
clergy  denounce  me  as  a  demon,  and  the  infamous 
Christian  Advocate  says  that  the  moral  sentiment 
of  this  State  ought  to  denounce  this  Illinois  Catiline 
for  his  blasphemous  utterances  and  for  his  base  and 
debasing  scurrility. 




FOR  my  part,  I  insist  that  man  has  not  only  the 
capacity,  but  the  right  to  govern  himself.  All 
political  authority  is  vested  in  the  people  themselves, 
They  have  the  right  to  select  their  officers  and 
agents,  and  these  officers  and  agents  are  responsible 
to  the  people.  Political  authority  does  not  come 
from  the  clouds.  Man  should  not  be  governed  by 
the  aristocracy  of  the  air.  The  Bible  is  not  a  Repub 
lican  or  Democratic  book.  Exactly  the  opposite 
doctrine  is  taught.  From  that  volume  we  learn  that 
the  people  have  no  power  whatever  ;  that  all  power 
and  political  authority  comes  from  on  high,  and  that 
all  the  kings,  all  the  potentates  and  powers,  have 
been  ordained  of  God  ;  that  all  the  ignorant  and 
cruel  kings  have  been  placed  upon  the  world's 
thrones  by  the  direct  act  of  Deity.  The  Scriptures 
teach  us  that  the  common  people  have  but  one  duty 



— the  duty  of  obedience.  Let  me  read  to  you  some 
of  the  political  ideas  in  the  great  "  Magna  Charta  " 
of  human  liberty. 

1.  "  Let  every  soul  be  subject  unto  the  higher 
powers.     For  there   is  no  power  but  of  God;  the 
powers  that  be  are  ordained  of  God. 

2.  "  Whosoever,   therefore,   resisteth   the    power, 
resisteth  the  ordinance  of  God  :  and  they  that  resist 
shall  receive  to  themselves  damnation." 

According  to  this,  George  III.  was  ordained  of 
God.  He  was  King  of  Great  Britian  by  divine  right, 
and  by  divine  right  was  the  lawful  King  of  the 
American  Colonies.  The  leaders  in  the  Revolution 
ary  struggle  resisted  the  power,  and  according  to 
these  passages,  resisted  the  ordinances  of  God  ;  and 
for  that  resistance  they  are  promised  the  eternal 
recompense  of  damnation. 

3.  "  For  rulers  are  not  a  terror  to  good  works, 
but  to  the  evil.     Wilt  thou  then  not  be  afraid  of  the 
power  ?  do  that  which  is  good,  and  thou  shalt  have 
praise  of  the  same.     .     .     . 

5.  "  Wherefore,  ye   must    needs   be  subject,  not 
only  for  wrath,  but  also  for  conscience  sake. 

6.  ' '  For,  for  this  cause  pay  ye  tribute  also  ;  for 
they  are  God's  ministers,  attending  continually  upon 
this  very  thing." — Romans^  xiii. 


13.  "Submit   yourselves  to    every   ordinance    of 
man  for  the  Lord's  sake  ;  whether  it  be  to  the  king 
as  supreme ; 

14.  "  Or  unto  governors,  as  unto  them  that  are 
sent  by  him  for  the  punishment  of  evil-doers,  and 
for  the  praise  of  them  that  do  well. 

1 5.  "  For  so  is  the  will  of  God." — /  Pet.  ii. 

Had  these  ideas  been  carried  out,  political  pro 
gress  in  the  world  would  have  been  impossible. 
Upon  the  necks  of  the  people  still  would  have  been 
the  feet  of  kings.  I  deny  this  wretched,  this  in 
famous  doctrine.  Whether  higher  powers  are  or 
dained  of  God  or  not,  if  those  higher  powers 
endeavor  to  destroy  the  rights  of  man,  I  for  one 
shall  resist.  Whenever  and  wherever  the  sword  of 
rebellion  is  drawn  in  support  of  a  human  right,  I  am 
a  rebel.  The  despicable  doctrine  of  submission  to 
titled  wrong  and  robed  injustice  finds  no  lodgment 
in  the  brain  of  a  man.  The  real  rulers  are  the 
people,  and  the  rulers  so-called  are  but  the  servants 
of  the  people.  They  are  not  ordained  of  any  God. 
All  political  power  comes  from  and  belongs  to  man. 
Upon  these  texts  of  Scripture  rest  the  thrones  of 
Europe.  For  fifteen  hundred  years  these  verses 
have  been  repeated  by  brainless  kings  and  heartless 
priests.  For  fifteen  hundred  years  each  one  of 


these  texts  has  been  a  bastile  in  which  has  been 
imprisoned  the  pioneers  of  progress.  Each  one  of 
these  texts  has  been  an  obstruction  on  the  highway 
of  humanity.  Each  one  has  been  a  fortification 
behind  which  have  crouched  the  sainted  hypocrites 
and  the  titled  robbers.  According  to  these  texts,  a 
robber  gets  his  right  to  rob  from  God.  And  it  is 
the  duty  of  the  robbed  to  submit.  The  thief  gets 
his  right  to  steal  from  God.  The  king  gets  his 
right  to  trample  upon  human  liberty  from  God.  I 
say,  fight  the  king — fight  the  priest. 


THE  Bible  denounces  religious  liberty.  After 
covering  the  world  with  blood,  after  having 
made  it  almost  hollow  with  graves,  Christians  are 
beginning  to  say  that  men  have  a  right  to  differ  up 
on  religious  questions  provided  the  questions  about 
which  they  differ  are  not  considered  of  great  im 
portance.  The  motto  of  the  Evangelical  Alliance  is  : 

"  In  non-essentials,  Liberty ;  in  essentials,  Unity." 
The  Christian  world  have  condescended  to  say  that 
upon  all  non-essential  points  we  shall  have  the  right 
to  think  for  ourselves  ;  but  upon  matters  of  the  least 
importance,  they  will  think  and  speak  for  us.  In 
this  they  are  consistent.  They  but  follow  the  teach 
ings  of  the  God  they  worship.  They  but  adhere  to 
the  precepts  and  commands  of  the  sacred  Scriptures. 
Within  that  volume  there  is  no  such  thing  as  relig- 
ous  toleration.  Within  that  volume  there  is  not  one 
particle  of  mercy  for  an  unbeliever.  For  all  who 



think  for  themselves,  for  all  who  are  the  owners  of 
their  own  souls,  there  are  threatenings,  curses  and 
anathemas.  Any  Christian  who  to-day  exercises  the 
least  toleration  is  to  that  extent  false  to  his  religion. 
Let  us  see  what  the  "  Magna  Charta "  of  liberty 
says  upon  this  subject : 

6.  If  "If  thy  brother,  the  son  of  thy  mother,  or  thy 
son,  or  thy  daughter,  or  the  wife  of  thy  bosom,  or 
thy  friend,  which  is  as  thine  own  soul,  entice  thee 
secretly,  saying,  Let  us  go  and  serve  other  gods, 
which  thou  hast  not  known,  thou,  nor  thy  fathers  ; 

7.  "  Namely  of  the  gods  of  the  people  which  are 
round  about  you,  nigh  unto  thee,  or  afar  off  from 
thee,  from  the  one  end  of  the  earth  even  unto  the 
other  end  of  the  earth  ; 

8.  "  Thou  shalt  not  consent  unto  him ;  nor  hearken 
unto  him  ;  neither  shall  thine  eye  pity  him  ;  neither 
shalt  thou  spare,  neither  shalt  thou   conceal  him. 

9.  "  But  thou  shalt  surely  kill   him  ;  thine  hand 
shall  be  first  upon  him  to  put  him  to  death,  and 
afterwards  the  hand  of  all  the  people  ; 

10.  "And  thou  shalt  stone  him  with  stones,  that 
he  die  ;  because  he  hath  sought  to  thrust  thee  away 
from  the  Lord  thy  God,  which  brought  thee  out  of 
the  land  of  Egypt,  from  the  house  of  bondage." — 
DeuL  xiii. 


That  is  the  religious  liberty  of  the  Bible.  If  the 
wife  of  your  bosom  had  said,  "  I  like  the  religion  of 
India  better  than  the  religion  of  Palestine,"  it  was 
then  your  duty  to  kill  her,  and  the  merciful  Most 
High —understand  me,  I  do  not  believe  in  any  mer 
ciful  Most  High — said  : 

"  Thou  shalt  not  pity  her  but  thou  shalt  surely  kill ; 
thy  hand  shall  be  the  first  upon  her  to  put  her  to 

This  I  denounce  as  infamously  infamous.  If  it  is 
necessary  to  believe  in  such  a  God,  if  it  is  necessary 
to  adore  such  a  Deity  in  order  to  be  saved,  I  will 
take  my  part  joyfully  in  perdition.  Let  me  read  you 
a  few  more  extracts  from  the  "  Magna  Charta  "  of 
human  liberty ; 

2.  ^f  "  If  there  be  found  among  you,  within  any  of 
thy  gates  which  the  Lord  thy  God  giveth  thee,  man 
or  woman  that  hath  wrought  wickedness  in  the  sight 
of  the  Lord  thy  God,  in  transgressing  his  covenant, 

3.  "And  hath  gone  and  served    other  gods,  and 
worshipped  them,   either  the  sun,  or  moon,  or  any 
of  the  host  of  heaven,  which  I  have  not  commanded  ; 

4.  "And  it  be  told  thee,  and  thou  hast  heard  of  it, 
and  enquired  diligently,  and  behold,  it  be  true,  and 
the  thing  certain,  that  such  abomination  is  wrought 
in  Israel ; 


'  5.  "  Then  shaltthou  bring  forth  that  man,  or  that 
woman,  which  have  committed  that  wicked  thing, 
unto  thy  gates,  even  that  man  or  that  woman,  and 
shalt  stone  them  with  stones  till  they  die." 

Under  this  law  if  the  woman  you  loved  had  said  : 
"  Let  us  worship  the  sun  ;  I  am  tired  of  this  jealous 
and  bloodthirsty  Jehovah  ;  let  us  worship  the  sun  ; 
let  us  kneel  to  it  as  it  rises  over  the  hills,  filling  the 
world  with  light  and  love,  when  the  dawn  stands 
jocund  on  the  mountain's  misty  top  ;  it  is  the  sun 
whose  beams  illumine  and  cover  the  earth  with 
verdure  and  with  beauty  ;  it  is  the  sun  that  covers 
the  trees  with  leaves,  that  carpets  the  earth  with 
grass  and  adorns  the  world  with  flowers ;  I  adore 
the  sun  because  in  its  light  I  have  seen  your  eyes  ; 
it  has  given  to  me  the  face  of  my  babe  ;  it  has  clothed 
my  life  with  joy ;  let  us  in  gratitude  fall  down  and 
worship  the  glorious  beams  of  the  sun." 

For  this  offence  she  deserved  not  only  death,  but 
death  at  your  hands : 

"  Thine  eye  shall  not  pity  her  ;  neither  shalt  thou 
spare  ;  neither  shalt  thou  conceal  her. 

"  But  thou  shalt  surely  kill  her  :  thy  hand  shall  be 
the  first  upon  her  to  put  her  to  death,  and  after 
wards  the  hand  of  all  the  people. 

"And  thou  shalt  stone  her  with  stones  that  she  die." 


For  my  part  I  had  a  thousand  times  rather  wor 
ship  the  sun  than  a  God  who  would  make  such  a 
law  or  give  such  a  command.  This  you  may  say 
is  the  doctrine  of  the  Old  Testament — what  is  the 
doctrine  of  the  New? 

"  He  that  believes  and  is  baptized  shall  be  saved  ; 
and  he  that  believeth  not  shall  be  damned." 

That  is  the  religious  liberty  of  the  New  Testament. 
That  is  the  "  tidings  of  great  joy." 

Every  one  of  these  words  has  been  a  chain  upon 
the  limbs,  a  whip  upon  the  backs  of  men.  Every  one 
has  been  a  fagot.  Every  one  has  been  a  sword. 
Every  one  has  been  a  dungeon,  a  scaffold,  a  rack. 
Every  one  has  been  a  fountain  of  tears.  These 
words  have  filled  the  hearts  of  men  with  hatred. 
These  words  invented  all  the  instruments  of  torture. 
These  words  covered  the  earth  with  blood. 

For  the  sake  of  argument,  suppose  that  the  Bible 
is  an  inspired  book.  If  then,  as  is  contended,  God 
gave  these  frightful  laws  commanding  religious  in 
tolerance  to  his  chosen  people,  and  afterward  this 
same  God  took  upon  himself  flesh,  and  came  among 
the  Jews  and  taught  a  different  religion,  and  they 
crucified  him,  did  he  not  reap  what  he  had  sown  ? 



IS  it  possible  to  conceive  of  a  more  jealous,  re 
vengeful,  changeable,  unjust,  unreasonable,  cruel 
being  than  the  Jehovah  of  the  Hebrews?  Is  it 
possible  to  read  the  words  said  to  have  been  spoken 
by  this  Deity, without  a  shudder?  Is  it  possible  to 
contemplate  his  character  without  hatred  ? 

"  I  will  make  mine  arrows  drunk  with  blood  and  my 
sword  shall  devour  flesh/' — Deut.  xxxii. 

Is  this  the  language  of  an  infinitely  kind  and  ten 
der  parent  to  his  weak,  his  wandering  and  suffering 
children  ? 

"  Thy  foot  may  be  dipped  in  the  blood  of  thine 
enemies,  and  the  tongue  of  thy  dogs  in  the  same." 
Psalms,  Ixviii. 

Is  it  possible  that  a  God  takes  delight  in  seeing 
dogs  lap  the  blood  of  his  children  ? 

22.  "And  the  Lord  thy  God  will  put  out  those 
nations  before  thee  by  little  and  little  ;  thou  mayest 
not  consume  them  at  once,  lest  the  beasts  of  the 
field  increase  upon  thee.  (80) 


23.  "  But  the  Lord  thy  God  shall  deliver  them  unto 
thee,  and  shall  destroy  them  with  a  mighty  destruc 
tion,  until  they  be  destroyed. 

24.  "And  he  shall  deliver  their  kings  into  thine 
hand,  and  thou    shalt      destroy    their    name    from 
under  heaven  ;  there  shall  no  man  be  able  to  stand 
before    thee,    until   thou    have    destroyed  them." — 
Deut.  viz. 

If  these  words  had  proceeded  from  the  mouth  of  a 
demon,  if  they  had  been  spoken  by  some  enraged  and 
infinitely  malicious  fiend,  I  should  not  have  been  sur 
prised.  But  these  things  are  attributed  to  a  God 
of  infinite  mercy. 

40.  ^f  "  So  Joshua  smote  all  the  country  of  the  hills, 
and  of  the  south,  and  of  the  vale,  and  of  the  springs, 
and  all  their  kings  ;  he  left  none  remaining,  but 
utterly  destroyed  all  that  breathed,  as  the  Lord  God 
of  Israel  commanded." — Josh.  x. 

14.  "And  all  the  spoil  of  these  cities,  and  the  cattle, 
the  children  of  Israel  took  for  a  prey  unto  themselves  ; 
but  every  man  they  smote  with  the  edge  of  the 
sword  until  they  had  destroyed  them,  neither  left 
they  any  to  breathe." — Josh.  xi. 

19.  "There  was  not  a  city  that  made  peace  with 
the  children  of  Israel,  save  the  Hivites,  the  inhabit 
ants  of  Gibeon  ;  all  other  they  took  •!  battle. 


20.  "  For  it  was  of  the  Lord  to  harden  their  hearts 
that  they  should  come  against  Israel  in  battle,  that  he 
might  destroy  them  utterly,  and  that  they  might 
have  no  favor,  but  that  he  might  destroy  them,  as 
the  Lord  commanded  Moses." — Josh.  xi. 

There  are  no  words  in  our  language  with  which 
to  express  the  indignation  I  feel  when  reading  these 
cruel  and  heartless  words. 

"  When  thou  comest  nigh  unto  a  city  to  fight 
against  it,  then  proclaim  peace  unto  it.  And  it 
shall  be  if  it  make  thee  answer  of  peace,  and  open 
unto  thee,  then  it  shall  be  that  all  the  people  therein 
shall  be  tributaries  unto  thee,  and  they  shall  serve 
thee.  And  if  it  will  make  no  peace  with  thee,  but 
will  make  war  against  thee,  then  thou  shalt  besiege 
it.  And  when  the  Lord  thy  God  hath  delivered  it 
into  thy  hands,  thou  shalt  smite  every  male  thereof 
with  the  sword.  But  the  women,  and  the  little  ones, 
and  the  cattle,  and  all  that  is  in  the  city,  even  the 
spoil  thereof,  shalt  thou  take  unto  thyself,  and  thou 
shalt  eat  the  spoil  of  thine  enemies,  which  the  Lord 
thy  God  hath  given  thee. 

"  Thus  shalt  thou  do  unto  all  the  cities  which  are 
very  far  off  from  thee,  which  are  not  of  the  cities  of 
these  nations.  But  of  the  cities  of  these  people 
which  the  Lord  thy  God  doth  give  thee  for  an 


inheritance,  thou  shalt  save  alive  nothing  that 

These  terrible  instructions  were  given  to  an  army 
ofinvasion.  The  men  who  were  thus  ruthlessly  mur 
dered  were  fighting  for  their  homes,  their  firesides, 
for  their  wives  and  for  their  little  children.  Yet 
these  things,  by  the  clergy  of  San  Francisco,  are 
called  acts  of  sublime  mercy. 

All  this  is  justified  by  the  doctrine  of  the  survival 
of  the  fittest.  The  Old  Testament  is  filled  with 
anathemas,  with  curses,  with  words  of  vengeance,  of 
revenge,  of  jealousy,  of  hatred  and  of  almost  infinite 
brutality.  Do  not,  I  pray  you,  pluck  from  the  heart 
the  sweet  flower  of  pity  and  trample  it  in  the  bloody 
dust  of  superstition.  Do  not,  I  beseech  you,  justify 
the  murder  of  women,  the  assassination  of  dimpled 
babes.  Do  not  let  the  gaze  of  the  gorgon  of  super 
stition  turn  your  hearts  to  stone. 

Is  there  an  intelligent  Christian  in  the  world  who 
would  not  with  joy  and  gladness  receive  conclusive 
testimony  to  the  effect  that  all  the  passages  in  the 
Bible  upholding  and  sustaining  polygamy  and  con 
cubinage,  political  tyranny,  the  subjection  of  woman, 
the  enslavement  of  children,  establishing  domestic 
and  political  tyranny,  and  that  all  the  commands  to 
destroy  men,  women  and  children,  are  but  interpola- 


tions  of  kings  and  priests,  made  for  the  purpose  of 
subjugating  mankind  through  the  instrumentality  of 
fear  ?  Is  there  a  Christian  in  the  world  who  would 
not  think  vastly  more  of  the  Bible  if  all  these  in 
famous  things  were  eliminated  from  it? 

Surely  the  good  things  in  that  book  are  not  ren 
dered  more  sacred  from  the  fact  that  in  the  same 
volume  are  found  the  frightful  passages  I  have  quot 
ed.  In  my  judgment  the  Bible  should  be  read  and 
studied  precisely  as  we  read  and  study  any  book 
whatever.  The  good  in  it  should  be  preserved  and 
cherished,  and  that  which  shocks  the  human  heart 
should  be  cast  aside  forever. 

While  the  Old  Testament  threatens  men,  women 
and  children  with  disease,  famine,  war,  pestilence 
and  death,  there  are  no  threatenings  of  punishment 
beyond  this  life.  The  doctrine  of  eternal  punish 
ment  is  a  dogma  of  the  New  Testament.  This 
doctrine,  the  most  cruel,  the  most  infamous  of  which 
the  human  mind  can  conceive,  is  taught,  if  taught  at 
all,  in  the  Bible — in  the  New  Testament.  One  can 
not  imagine  what  the  human  heart  has  suffered  by 
reason  of  the  frightful  doctrine  of  eternal  damnation. 
It  is  a  doctrine  so  abhorrent  to  every  drop  of  my 
blood,  so  infinitely  cruel,  that  it  is  impossible  for  me 
to  respect  either  the  head  or  heart  of  any  human 


being  who  teaches  or  fears  it.  This  doctrine  neces 
sarily  subverts  all  ideas  of  justice.  To  inflict  infinite 
punishment  for  finite  crimes,  or  rather  for  crimes 
committed  by  finite  beings,  is  a  proposition  so 
monstrous  that  I  am  astonished  it  ever  found  lodg 
ment  in  the  brain  of  man.  Whoever  says  that  we 
can  be  happy  in  heaven  while  those  we  loved  on 
earth  are  suffering  infinite  torments  in  eternal  fire, 
defames  and  calumniates  the  human  heart. 


WE  are  told,  however,  that  a  way  has  been 
provided  for  the  salvation  of  all  men,  and 
that  in  this  plan  the  infinite  mercy  of  God  is  made 
manifest  to  the  children  of  men.  According  to  the 
great  scheme  of  the  atonement,  the  innocent  suffers 
for  the  guilty  in  order  to  satisfy  a  law.  What  kind  of 
law  must  it  be  that  is  satisfied  with  the  agony  of 
innocence  ?  Who  made  this  law  ?  If  God  made  it 
he  must  have  known  that  the  innocent  would  have 
to  suffer  as  a  consequence.  The  whole  scheme  is  to 
me  a  medley  of  contradictions,  impossibilities  and 
theological  conclusions.  We  are  told  that  if  Adam 
and  Eve  had  not  sinned  in  the  Garden  of  Eden 
death  never  would  have  entered  the  world.  We 
are  further  informed  that  had  it  not  been  for  the 
devil,  Adam  and  Eve  would  not  have  been  led 
astray ;  and  if  they  had  not,  as  I  said  before,  death 
never  would  have  touched  with  its  icy  hand  the 


human  heart.  If  our  first  parents  had  never  sinned, 
and  death  never  had  entered  the  world,  you  and  I 
never  would  have  existed.  The  earth  would  have 
been  filled  thousands  of  generations  before  you  and 
I  were  born.  At  the  feast  of  life,  death  made  seats 
vacant  for  us.  According  to  this  doctrine,  we  are 
indebted  to  the  devil  for  our  existence.  Had  he  not 
tempted  Eve — no  sin.  If  there  had  been  no  sin — 
no  death.  If  there  had  been  no  death  the  world 
would  have  been  filled  ages  before  you  and  I  were 
born.  Therefore,  we  owe  our  existence  to  the  devil. 
We  are  further  informed  that  as  a  consequence  of 
original  sin  the  scheme  called  the  atonement  became 
necessary  ;  and  that  if  the  Savior  had  not  taken 
upon  himself  flesh  and  come  to  this  atom  called  the 
earth,  and  if  he  had  not  been  crucified  for  us,  we 
should  all  have  been  cast  forever  into  hell.  Had  it 
not  been  for  the  bigotry  of  the  Jews  and  the  treach 
ery  of  Judas  Iscariot,  Christ  would  not  have  been 
crucified ;  and  if  he  had  not  been  crucified,  all  of  us 
would  have  had  our  portion  in  the  lake  that  burneth 
with  eternal  fire. 

According  to  thi?  great  doctrine,  according  to  this 
vast  and  most  wonderful  scheme,  we  owe,  as  I  said 
before,  our  existence  to  the  devil,  our  salvation  to 
Judas  Iscariot  and  the  bigotry  of  the  Jews. 


So  far  as  I  am  concerned,  I  fail  to  see  any  meicy 
in  the  plan  of  salvation.  Is  it  mercy  to  reward  a 
man  forever  in  consideration  of  believing  a  certain 
thing,  of  the  truth  of  which  there  is,  to  his  mind, 
ample  testimony  ?  Is  it  mercy  to  punish  a  man 
with  eternal  fire  simply  because  there  is  not  testi 
mony  enough  to  satisfy  his  mind  ?  Can  there  be 
such  a  thing  as  mercy  in  eternal  punishment  ? 

And  yet  this  same  Deity  says  to  me,  "  resist  not 
evil ;  pray  for  those  that  despitefully  use  you  ;  love 
your  enemies,  but  I  will  eternally  damn  mine."  It 
seems  to  me  that  even  gods  should  practice  what 
they  preach. 

Ail  atonement,  after  all,  is  a  kind  of  moral  bank 
ruptcy.  Under  its  provisions,  man  is  allowed  the 
luxury  of  sinning  upon  a  credit.  Whenever  he  is 
guilty  of  a  wicked  action  he  says,  "  charge  it."  This 
kind  of  bookkeeping,  in  my  judgment,  tends  to 
breed  extravagance  in  sin. 

The  truth  is,  most  Christians  are  better  than  their 
creeds  ;  most  creeds  are  better  than  the  Bible,  and 
most  men  are  better  than  their  God. 



WE  must  remember  that  ours  is  not  the  only  re 
ligion.  Man  has  in  all  ages  endeavored  to 
answer  the  great  questions  Whence  ?  and  Whither  ? 
He  has  endeavored  to  read  his  destiny  in  the  stars, 
to  pluck  the  secret  of  his  existence  from  the  night. 
He  has  questioned  the  spectres  of  his  own  imagina 
tion.  He  has  explored  the  mysterious  avenues  of 
dreams.  He  has  peopled  the  heavens  with  spirits. 
He  has  mistaken  his  visions  for  realities.  In  the 
twilight  of  ignorance  he  has  mistaken  shadows  for 
gods.  In  all  ages  he  has  been  the  slave  of  misery, 
the  dupe  of  superstition  and  the  fool  of  hope.  He  has 
suffered  and  aspired. 

Religion  is  a  thing  of  growth,  of  development. 
As  we  advance  we  throw  aside  the  grosser  and  ab- 
surder  forms  of  faith — practically  at  first  by  ceasing 
to  observe  them,  and  lastly,  by  denying  them  alto 
gether.  Every  church  necessarily  by  its  constitution 



endeavors  to  prevent  this  natural  growth  or  devel 
opment.  What  has  happened  to  other  religions 
must  happen  to  ours.  Ours  is  not  superior  to  many 
that  have  passed,  or  are  passing  away.  Other  re 
ligions  have  been  lived  for  and  died  for  by  men  as 
noble  as  ours  can  boast.  Their  dogmas  and  doc 
trines  have,  to  say  the  least,  been  as  reasonable,  as 
full  of  spiritual  grandeur,  as  ours. 

Man  has  had  beautiful  thoughts.  Man  has  tried 
to  solve  these  questions  in  all  the  countries  of  the 
world,  and  I  respect  all  such  men  and  women  ;  but 
let  me  tell  you  one  little  thing.  I  want  to  show  you 
that  in  other  countries  there  is  something. 

The  Parsee  sect  of  Persia  say  :  A  Persian  saint 
ascended  the  three  stairs  that  lead  to  heaven's  gate, 
and  knocked  ;  a  voice  said  :  "  Who  is  there  ? " 
"  Thy  servant,  O  God ! "  But  the  gates  would  not 
open.  For  seven  years  he  did  every  act  of  kind 
ness  ;  again  he  came,  and  the  voice  said  :  "  Who  is 
there?"  And  he  replied:  "Thy  slave,  O  God!" 
Yet  the  gates  were  shut.  Yet  seven  other  years  of 
kindness,  and  the  man  again  knocked  ;  and  the  voice 
cried  and  said  :  "  Who  is  there  ?  "  "  Thyself,  O 
God  !  "  And  the  gates  wide  open  flew. 

I  say  there  is  no  more  beautiful  Christian  poem 
than  this. 


A  Persian  after  having  read  our  religion,  with  its 
frightful  descriptions  of  perdition,  wrote  these  words  : 
"  Two  angels  flying  out  from  the  blissful  city  of  God 
— the  angel  of  love  and  the  angel  of  pity — hovered 
over  the  eternal  pit  where  suffered  the  captives  of 
hell.  One  smile  of  love  illumined  the  darkness  and 
one  tear  of  pity  extinguished  all  the  fires."  Has 
orthodoxy  produced  anything  as  generously  beauti 
ful  as  this  ?  Let  me  read  you  this  :  Sectarians,  hear 
this:  Believers  in  eternal  damnation,  hear  this: 
Clergy  of  America  who  expect  to  have  your  happiness 
in  heaven  increased  by  seeing  me  burning  in  hell,  hear 

This  is  the  prayer  of  the  Brahmins — a  prayer  that 
has  trembled  from  human  lips  toward  heaven  for 
more  than  four  thousand  years  : 

"  Never  will  I  seek  or  receive  private  individual 
salvation.  Never  will  I  enter  into  final  bliss  alone. 
But  forever  and  everywhere  will  I  labor  and  strive 
for  the  final  redemption  of  every  creature  throughout 
all  worlds,  and  until  all  are  redeemed.  Never  will  I 
wrongly  leave  this  world  to  sin,  sorrow  and  strug 
gle,  but  will  remain  and  work  and  suffer  where 


Has  the  orthodox  religion  produced  a  prayer  like 
this  ?  See  the  infinite  charity,  not  only  for  every 


soul  in  this  world,  but  of  all  the  shining  worlds  of  the 
universe.  Think  of  that,  ye  parsons  who  imagine 
that  a  large  majority  are  going  to  eternal  ruin. 

Compare  it  with  the  sermons  of  Jonathan  Edwards, 
and  compare  it  with  the  imprecation  of  Christ : 
"  Depart  ye  cursed  into  everlasting  fire  prepared 
for  the  devil  and  his  angels  ; "  with  the  ideas  of 
Jeremy  Taylor,  with  the  creeds  of  Christendom,  with 
all  the  prayers  of  all  the  saints,  and  in  no  church 
except  the  Universalist  will  you  hear  a  prayer  like 

"  When  thou  art  in  doubt  as  to  whether  an  action 
is  good  or  bad,  abstain  from  it." 

Since  the  days  of  Zoroaster  has  there  been  any 
rule  for  human  conduct  given  superior  to  this  ? 

Are  the  principles  taught  by  us  superior  to  those 
of  Confucius  ?  He  was  asked  if  there  was  any  single 
word  comprising  the  duties  of  man.  He  replied  : 
"  Reciprocity."  Upon  being  asked  what  he  thought 
of  the  doctrine  of  returning  benefits  for  injuries,  he 
replied  :  "  That  is  not  my  doctrine.  If  you  return 
benefits  for  injuries  what  do  you  propose  for  benefits  ? 
My  doctrine  is  ;  For  benefits  return  benefits  ;  for 
injuries  return  justice  without  any  admixture  of  re 

To  return  good  for  evil  is  to  pay  a  premium  upon 


wickedness.  I  cannot  put  a  man  under  obligation  to 
do  me  a  favor  by  doing  him  an  injury. 

Now,  to-day,  right  now,  what  is  the  church  do 
ing  ?  What  is  it  doing,  I  ask  you  honestly  ?  Does  it 
satisfy  the  craving  hearts  of  the  nineteenth  century  ? 
Are  we  satisfied  ?  I  am  not  saying  this  except  from 
the  honesty  of  my  heart.  Are  we  satisfied  ?  Is  it 
a  consolation  to  us  now  ?  Is  it  even  a  consolation 
when  those  we  love  die  ?  The  dead  are  so  near  and 
the  promises  are  so  far  away.  It  is  covered  with 
the  rubbish  of  the  past.  I  ask  you,  is  it  all  that  is 
demanded  by  the  brain  and  heart  of  the  nineteenth 
century  ? 

We  want  something  better ;  we  want  something 
grander  ;  we  want  something  that  has  more  brain 
in  it,  and  more  heart  in  it.  We  want  to  advance 
— that  is  what  we  want ;  and  you  cannot  advance 
without  being  a  heretic — you  cannot  do  it. 

Nearly  all  these  religions  have  been  upheld  by 
persecution  and  bloodshed.  They  have  been  ren 
dered  stable  by  putting  fetters  upon  the  human 
brain.  They  have  all,  however,  been  perfectly 
natural  productions,  and  under  similar  circumstances 
would  all  be  reproduced.  Only  by  intellectual 
development  are  the  old  superstitions  outgrown. 
As  only  the  few  intellectually  advance,  the  majority 


is  left  on  the  side  of  superstition,  and  remains 
there  until  the  advanced  ideas  of  the  few  thinkers 
become  general  ;  and  by  that  time  there  are  other 
thinkers  still  in  advance. 

And  so  the  work  of  development  and  growth 
slowly  and  painfully  proceeds  from  age  to  age.  The 
pioneers  are  denounced  as  heretics,  and  the  heretics 
denounce  their  denouncers  as  the  disciples  of  super 
stition  and  ignorance.  Christ  was  a  heretic.  Herod 


was  orthodox.  Socrates  was  a  blasphemer.  Anytus 
worshiped  all  the  gods.  Luther  was  a  skeptic,  while 
the  sellers  of  indulgences  were  the  best  of  Catholics. 
Roger  Williams  was  a  heretic,  while  the  Puritans 
who  drove  him  from  Massachusetts  were  all  ortho 
dox.  Every  step  in  advance  in  the  religious  history 
of  the  world  has  been  taken  by  heretics.  No  super 
stition  has  been  destroyed  except  by  a  heretic.  No 
creed  has  been  bettered  except  by  a  heretic. 
Heretic  is  the  name  that  the  orthodox  laggard  hurls 
at  the  disappearing  pioneer.  It  is  shouted  by  the 
dwellers  in  swamps  to  the  people  upon  the  hills.  It 
is  the  opinion  that  midnight  entertains  of  the  dawn. 
It  is  what  the  rotting  says  of  the  growing.  Heretic 
is  the  name  that  a  stench  gives  to  a  perfume. 

With  this  word  the  coffin  salutes  the  cradle.  It 
is  taken  from  the  lips  of  the  dead.  Orthodoxy  is  a 


shroud — heresy  is  a  banner.  Orthodoxy  is  an 
epitaph — heresy  is  a  prophecy.  Orthodoxy  is  a 
cloud,  a  fog,  a  mist — heresy  the  star  shining  forever 
above  the  child  of  truth. 

I  am  a  believer  in  the  eternity  of  progress.  I  do 
not  believe  that  Want  will  forever  extend  its 
withered  hand,  its  wan  and  shriveled  palms,  for 
charity.  I  do  not  believe  that  the  children  will 
forever  be  governed  by  cruelty  and  brute  force.  I 
do  not  believe  that  poverty  will  dwell  with  man 
forever.  I  do  not  believe  that  prisons  will  forever 
cover  the  earth,  or  that  the  shadow  of  the  gallows 
will  forever  fall  upon  the  ground.  I  do  not  believe 
that  injustice  will  sit  forever  upon  the  bench,  or  that 
malice  and  superstition  will  forever  stand  in  the 

I  believe  the  time  will  come  when  there  will  be 
charity  in  every  heart,  when  there  will  be  love  in 
every  family,  and  when  law  and  liberty  and  justice, 
like  the  atmosphere,  will  surround  this  world. 

We  have  worshiped  the  ghosts  long  enough. 
We  have  prostrated  ourselves  before  the  ignorance 
of  the  past. 

Let  us  stand  erect  and  look  with  hopeful  eyes 
toward  the  brightening  future.  Let  us  stand  by  our 
convictions.  Let  us  not  throw  away  our  idea  of 


justice  for  the  sake  of  any  book  or  of  any  religion 
whatever.  Let  us  live  according  to  our  highest 
and  noblest  and  purest  ideal. 

By  this  time  we  should  know  that  the  real  Bible 
has  not  been  written. 

The  real  Bible  is  not  the  work  of  inspired  men, 
or  prophets,  or  apostles,  or  evangelists,  or  of 

Every  man  who  finds  a  fact,  adds,  as  it  were, 
a  word  to  this  great  book.  It  is  not  attested 
by  prophecy,  by  miracles,  or  signs.  It  makes  no  ap 
peal  to  faith,  to  ignorance,  to  credulity  or  fear.  It 
has  no  punishment  for  unbelief,  and  no  reward  for 
hypocrisy.  It  appeals  to  man  in  the  name  of  de 
monstration.  It  has  nothing  to  conceal.  It  has 
no  fear  of  being  read,  of  being  contradicted,  of  being 
investigated  and  understood.  It  does  not  pretend 
to  be  holy,  or  sacred  ;  it  simply  claims  to  be  true.  It 
challenges  the  scrutiny  of  all,  and  implores  every 
reader  to  verify  every  line  for  himself.  It  is  incap 
able  of  being  blasphemed.  This  book  appeals  to  all 
the  surroundings  of  man.  Each  thing  that  exists 
testifies  to  its  perfection.  The  earth,  with  its  heart 
of  fire  and  crowns  of  snow ;  with  its  forests  and 
plains,  its  rocks  and  seas  ;  with  its  every  wave  and 
cloud  ;  with  its  every  leaf  and  bud  and  flower,  con- 


firms  its  every  word,  and  the  solemn  stars,  shining 
in  the  infinite  abysses,  are  the  eternal  witnesses  of 
its  truth. 

Ladies  and  gentlemen  you  cannot  tell  how  I  thank 
you  this  evening ;  you  cannot  tell  how  I  feel  toward 
the  intellectual  hospitality  of  this  great  city  by  the 
Pacific  sea.  Ladies  and  gentlemen,  I  thank  you — I 
thank  you  again  and  again,  a  thousand  times. 



To  the  Editor  : — 

NOTHING  is  more  gratifying  than  to  see  ideas 
that  were  received  with  scorn,  flourishing  in 
the  sunshine  of  approval.  Only  a  few  weeks  ago,  I 
stated  that  the  Bible  was  not  inspired  ;  that  Moses 
was  mistaken  ;  that  the  "  flood  "  was  a  foolish  myth  ; 
that  the  Tower  of  Babel  existed  only  in  credulity  ; 
that  God  did  not  create  the  universe  from  nothing, 
that  he  did  not  start  the  first  woman  with  a  rib  ;  that  , 
he  never  upheld  slavery  ;  that  he  was  not  a  polyga- 
mist ;  that  he  did  not  kill  people  for  making  hair- 
oil  ;  that  he  did  not  order  his  generals  to  kill 
the  dimpled  babes ;  that  he  did  not  allow  the  roses 
of  love  and  the  violets  of  modesty  to  be  trodden  un 
der  the  brutal  feet  of  lust ;  that  the  Hebrew  lan 
guage  was  written  without  vowels  ;  that  the  Bible 
was  composed  of  many  books,  written  by  unknown 
men  ;  that  all  translations  differed  from  each  other  ; 
and  that  this  book  had  filled  the  world  with  agony 
and  crime. 

At  that  time  I  had  not  the  remotest  idea  that   the 

*  Chicago  Times,  1879.  (Ill) 

112  MY    CHICAGO    BIBLE    CLASS. 

most  learned  clergymen  in  Chicago  would  substanti 
ally  agree  with  me — in  public.  I  have  read  the  re 
plies  of  the  Rev.  Robert  Collyer,  Dr.  Thomas,  Rabbi 
Kohler,  Rev.  Brooke  Herford,  Prof.  Swing  and  Dr. 
Ryder,  and  will  now  ask  them  a  few  questions,  an 
swering  them  in  their  own  words. 

First.     Rev.  Robert  Collyer. 

Question.  What  is  your  opinion  of  the  Bible  ? 

Answer.  "  It  is  a  splendid  book.  It  makes  the 
noblest  type  of  Catholics  and  the  meanest  bigots. 
Through  this  book  men  give  their  hearts  for  good  to 
God,  or  for  evil  to  the  devil.  The  best  argument  for 
the  intrinsic  greatness  of  the  book  is  that  it  can  touch 
such  wide  extremes,  and  seem  to  maintain  us  in 
the  most  unparalleled  cruelty,  as  well  as  the  most 
tender  mercy  ;  that  it  can  inspire  purity  like  that  of 
the  great  saints, and  afford  arguments  in  favor  of 
polygamy.  The  Bible  is  the  text  book  of  ironclad 
Calvinism  and  sunny  Universalism.  It  makes  the 
Quaker  quiet,  and  the  Millerite  crazy.  It  inspired 
the  Union  soldier  to  live  and  grandly  die  for  the 
right,  and  Stonewall  Jackson  to  live  nobly,  and  die 
grandly  for  the  wrong." 

Question.  But,  Mr.  Collyer,  do  you  really  think 
that  a  book  with  as  many  passages  in  favor  of  wrong 
as  right, is  inspired? 

MY    CHICAGO    BIBLE    CLASS.  113 

Answer.  "  I  look  upon  the  Old  Testament  as  a 
rotting  tree.  When  it  falls  it  will  fertilize  a  bank 
of  violets." 

Question.  Do  you  believe  that  God  upheld  slavery 
and  polygamy  ?  Do  you  believe  that  he  ordered 
the  killing  of  babes  and  the  violation  of  maidens  ? 

Answer.  "  There  is  threefold  inspiration  in  the 
Bible,  the  first,  peerless  and  perfect,  the  word  of  God 
to  man  ;  the  second,  simply  and  purely  human,  and 
then  below  this  again,  there  is  an  inspiration  born  of 
an  evil  heart,  ruthless  and  savage  there  and  then  as 
anything  well  can  be.  A  threefold  inspiration,  of 
heaven  first,  then  of  the  earth,  and  then  of  hell,  all 
in  the  same  book,  all  sometimes  in  the  same  chapter, 
and  then,  besides,  a  great  many  things  that  need  no 

Question.  Then  after  all  you  do  not  pretend  that 
the  Scriptures  are  really  inspired  ? 

Answer.  "  The  Scriptures  make  no  such  claim  for 
themselves  as  the  church  makes  for  them.  They 
leave  me  free  to  say  this  is  false,  or  this  is  true. 
The  truth  even  within  the  Bible,  dies  and  lives,  makes 
on  this  side  and  loses  on  that." 

Question.  What  do  you  say  to  the  last  verse  in 
the  Bible,  where  a  curse  is  threatened  to  any  man 
who  takes  from  or  adds  to  the  book  ? 

114  MY    CHICAGO    BIBLE    CLASS. 

Answer.  "  I  have  but  one  answer  to  this  question, 
and  it  is  :  Let  who  will  have  written  this,  I  cannot 
for  an  instant  believe  that  it  was  written  by  a  divine 
inspiration.  Such  dogmas  and  threats  as  these  are 
not  of  God,  but  of  man,  and  not  of  any  man  of  a 
free  spirit  and  heart  eager  for  the  truth,  but  a  narrow 
man  who  would  cripple  and  confine  the  human  soul 
in  its  quest  after  the  whole  truth  of  God,  and  back 
those  who  have  done  the  shameful  things  in  the  name 
of  the  most  high." 

Question.  Do  you  not  regard  such  talk  as  "  slang  "  ? 

{Supposed)  Answer.  If  an  infidel  had  said  that  the 
writer  of  Revelation  was  narrow  and  bigoted,  I 
might  have  denounced  his  discourse  as  "  slang,"  but 
I  think  that  Unitarian  ministers  can  do  so  with  the 
greatest  propriety. 

Question.  Do  you  believe  in  the  stories  of  the 
Bible,  about  Jael,  and  the  sun  standing  still,  and  the 
walls  falling  at  the  blowing  of  horns  ? 

Answer.  "  They  may  be  legends,  myths,  poems, 
or  what  they  will,  but  they  are  not  the  word  of  God. 
So  I  say  again,  it  was  not  the  God  and  Father 
of  us  all,  who  inspired  the  woman  to  drive  that 
nail  crashing  through  the  king's  temple  after  she 
had  given  him  that  bowl  of  milk  and  bid  him  sleep  in 
safety,  but  a  very  mean  devil  of  hatred  and  revenge, 


that  I  should  hardly  expect  to  find  in  a  squaw  on 
the  plains.  It  was  not  the  ram's  horns  and  the 
shouting  before  which  the  walls  fell  flat.  If  they 
went  down  at  all,  it  was  through  good  solid  pounding. 
And  not  for  an  instant  did  the  steady  sun  stand 
still  or  let  his  planet  stand  still  while  barbarian 
fought  barbarian.  He  kept  just  the  time  then  he 
keeps  now.  They  might  believe  it  who  made  the 
record.  I  do  not.  And  since  the  whole  Christian 
world  might  believe  it,  still  we  do  not  who  gather  in 
this  church.  A  free  and  reasonable  mind  stands 
right  in  our  way.  Newton  might  believe  it  as  a 
Christian,  and  disbelieve  it  as  a  philosopher.  We 
stand  then  with  the  philosopher  against  the  Christian, 
for  we  must  believe  what  is  true  to  us  in  the  last 
test,  and  these  things  are  not  true." 

Second.     Rev.  Dr.  Thomas. 

Question.  What  is  your  opinion  of  the  Old  Tes 
tament  ? 

Answer.  "  My  opinion  is  that  it  is  not  one  book, 
but  many — thirty-nine  books  bound  up  in  one.  The 
date  and  authorship  of  most  of  these  books  are 
wholly  unknown.  The  Hebrews  wrote  without 
vowels,  and  without  dividing  the  letters  into  syllables, 
words,  or  sentences.  The  books  were  gathered  up 
by  Ezra.  At  that  time  only  two  of  the  Jewish  tribes 


remained.  All  progress  has  ceased.  In  gathering 
up  the  sacred  book,  copyists  exercised  great  liberty 
in  making  changes  and  additions." 

Question.  Yes,  we  know  all  that,  but  is  the  Old 
Testament  inspired  ? 

Answer.  "There  maybe  the  inspiration  of  art, 
of  poetry,  or  oratory  ;  of  patriotism — and  there  are 
such  inspirations.  There  are  moments  when  great 
truths  and  principles  come  to  men.  They  seek  the 
man,  and  not  the  man  them." 

Question.  Yes,  we  all  admit  that,  but  is  the  Bible 
inspired  ? 

Answer.  "  But  still  I  know  of  no  way  to  convince 
anyone  of  spirit,  and  inspiration,  and  God,  only  as  his 
reason  may  take  hold  of  these  things." 

Question.  Do  you  think  the  Old  Testament 

Answer.  "  The  story  of  Eden  may  be  an  allegory. 
The  history  of  the  children  of  Israel  may  have 

Question.     Must  inspiration  claim  infallibility  ? 

Answer.  "  It  is  a  mistake  to  say  that  if  you  believe 
one  part  of  the  Bible  you  must  believe  all.  Some 
of  the  thirty-nine  books  may  be  inspired,  others 
not ;  or  there  may  be  degrees  of  inspiration." 

Question.     Do  you  believe  that  God  commanded 

MY    CHICAGO    BIBLE    CLASS.  117 

the  soldiers  to  kill  the  children  and  the  married 
women,  and  save  for  themselves,  the  maidens,  as 
recorded  in  Numbers  xxxi,  2  ? 

Do  you  believe  that  God  upheld  slavery  ? 

Do  you  believe  that  God  upheld  polygamy  ? 

Answer.  "  The  Bible  may  be  wrong  in  some  state 
ments.  God  and  right  cannot  be  wrong.  We  must 
not  exalt  the  Bible  above  God.  It  may  be  that 
we  have  claimed  too  much  for  the  Bible,  and  thereby 
given  not  a  little  occasion  for  such  men  as  Mr. 
Ingersoll  to  appear  at  the  other  extreme,  denying 
too  much." 

Question,     What  then  shall  be  done  ? 

Answer.  "  We  must  take  a  middle  ground.  It  is 
not  necessary  to  believe  that  the  bears  devoured  the 
forty-two  children,  nor  that  Jonah  was  swallowed  by 
the  whale." 

Third.     Rev.  Dr.  Kohler. 

Question.  What  is  your  opinion  about  the  Old 
Testament  ? 

Answer.  "  I  will  not  make  futile  attempts  of  arti 
ficially  interpreting  the  letter  of  the  Bible  so  as  to 
make  it  reflect  the  philosophical,  moral  and  scientific 
views  of  our  time.  The  Bible  is  a  sacred  record  of 
humanity's  childhood." 

Question.     Are  you  an  orthodox  Christian  ? 


Answer.  "  No.  Orthodoxy,  with  its  face  turned 
backward  to  a  ruined  temple  or  a  dead  Messiah,  is 
fast  becoming  like  Lot's  wife,  a  pillar  of  salt." 

Question.  Do  you  really  believe  the  Old  Testa 
ment  was  inspired  ? 

Answer.  "  I  greatly  acknowledge  our  indebtedness 
to  men  like  Voltaire  and  Thomas  Paine,  whose  bold 
denial  and  cutting  wit  were  so  instrumental  in 
bringing  about  this  glorious  era  of  freedom,  so  con 
genial  and  blissful,  particularly  to  the  long-abused 
Jewish  race." 

Question.  Do  you  believe  in  the  inspiration  of 
the  Bible  ? 

Answer.  "  Of  course  there  is  a  destructive  axe 
needed  to  strike  down  the  old  building  in  order  to 
make  room  for  the  grander  new.  The  divine  origin 
claimed  by  the  Hebrews  for  their  national  literature, 
was  claimed  by  all  nations  for  their  old  records  and 
laws  as  preserved  by  the  priesthood.  As  Moses,  the 
Hebrew  law-giver,  is  represented  as  having  received 
the  law  from  God  on  the  holy  mountain,  so  is  Zoro 
aster  the  Persian,  Manu  the  Hindoo,  Minos  the 
Cretan,  Lycurgus  the  Spartan,  and  Numa  the 

Question.  Do  you  believe  all  the  stories  in  the 


Answer.  "All  that  can  and  must  be  said  against 
them  is  that  they  have  been  too  long  retained 
around  the  arms  and  limbs  of  grown-up  man 
hood,  to  check  the  spiritual  progress  of  religion  ; 
that  by  Jewish  ritualism  and  Christian  dogmatism 
they  became  fetters  unto  the  soul,  turning  the 
light  of  heaven  into  a  misty  haze  to  blind  the  eye, 
and  even  into  a  hell- fire  of  fanaticism  to  consume 

Question.     Is  the  Bible  inspired? 

Answer.  "  True,  the  Bible  is  not  free  from  errors, 
nor  is  any  work  of  man  and  time.  It  abounds  in 
childish  views  and  offensive  matter.  I  trust  that  it 
will  in  a  time  not  far  off  be  presented  for  common 
use  in  families,  schools,  synagogues  and  churches,  in 
a  refined  shape,  cleansed  from  all  dross  and  chaff, 
and  stumbling  blocks  in  which  the  scoffer  delights 
to  dwell." 

Fourth.     Rev.  Mr.  Herford. 

Question.     Is  the  Bible  true  ? 

Answer.  "  Ingersoll  is  very  fond  of  saying  'The 
question  is  not,  is  the  Bible  inspired,  but  is  it  true  ?  ' 
That  sounds  very  plausible,  but  you  know  as  applied 
to  any  ancient  book  it  is  simply  nonsense." 

Question.  Do  you  think  the  stories  in  the  Bible 
exaggerated  ? 


Answer.  "  I  dare  say  the  numbers  are  immensely 

Question.  Do  you  think  that  God  upheld  polyg 
amy  ? 

Answer.  "  The  truth  of  which  simply  is,  that  four 
thousand  years  ago  polygamy  existed  among  the 
Jews,  as  everywhere  else  on  earth  then,  and  even 
their  prophets  did  not  come  to  the  idea  of  its  being 
wrong.  But  what  is  there  to  be  indignant  about  in 

Question.  And  so  you  really  wonder  why  any 
man  should  be  indignant  at  the  idea  that  God  up 
held  and  sanctioned  that  beastliness  called  polyg 
amy  ? 

Answer.  "  What  is  there  to  be  indignant  about  in 
that  ?  " 

Fifth.     Prof.  Swing. 

Question.     What  is  your  idea  of  the  Bible  ? 

Answer.  "  I  think  it  is  a  poem." 

Sixth.     Rev.  Dr.  Ryder. 

Question.  And  what  is  your  idea  of  the  sacred 
Scriptures  ? 

Answer.  "  Like  other  nations,  the  Hebrews  had 
their  patriotic,  descriptive,  didactic  and  lyrical  poems 
in  the  same  varieties  as  other  nations  ;  but  with 
them,  unlike  other  nations,  whatever  may  be  the  form 

MY    CHICAGO    BIBLE    CLASS.  121 

of  their  poetry,  it  always  possesses  the  charactej  istic 
of  religion." 

Question.  I  suppose  you  fully  appreciate  the 
religious  characteristics  of  the  Song  of  Solomon. 

No  answer. 

Question.     Does  the  Bible  uphold  polygamy  ? 

Answer.  "  The  law  of  Moses  did  not  forbid  it,  but 
contained  many  provisions  against  its  worst  abuses, 
and  such  as  were  intended  to  restrict  it  within  nar 
row  limits." 

Question.  So  you  think  God  corrected  some  of 
the  worst  abuses  of  polygamy,  but  preserved  the 
institution  itself? 

I  might  question  many  others,  but  have  concluded 
not  to  consider  those  as  members  of  my  Bible  Class 
who  deal  in  calumnies  and  epithets.  From  the  so- 
called  "  replies  "  of  such  ministers,  it  appears  that 
while  Christianity  changes  the  heart,  it  does  not  im 
prove  the  manners,  and  that  one  can  get  into  heaven 
in  the  next  world  without  having  been  a  gentleman 
in  this. 

It  is  difficult  for  me  to  express  the  deep  and 
thrilling  satisfaction  I  have  experienced  in  reading 
the  admissions  of  the  clergy  of  Chicago.  Surely, 
the  battle  of  intellectual  liberty  is  almost  won,  when 
ministers  admit  that  the  Bible  is  filled  with  ignorant 


and  cruel  mistakes  ;  that  each  man  has  the  right  to 
think  for  himself,  and  that  it  is  not  necessary  to  be 
lieve  the  Scriptures  in  order  to  be  saved.  From  the 
bottom  of  my  heart  I  congratulate  my  pupils  on  the 
advance  they  have  made,  and  hope  soon  to  meet 
them  on  the  serene  heights  of  perfect  freedom. 

Washington,  D.  C.,  May  7, 



THE  following  questions  have  been  submitted  to 
me  by  the  Rev.  David  Walk,  Dr.  T.  B.  Taylor, 
the  Rev.  Myron  W.  Reed,  and  the  Rev.  D.  O'Don- 
aghue,  of  Indianapolis,  with  the  request  that  I  answer 
them  : 


Question.  Is  the  Character  of  Jesus  of  Nazareth, 
as  described  in  the  Four  Gospels,  Fictional  or  Real? 

Answer.  In  all  probability,  there  was  a  man  by  the 
name  of  Jesus  Christ,  who  was,in  his  day  and  genera 
tion,  a  reformer — a  man  who  was  infinitely  shocked 
at  the  religion  of  Jehovah — who  became  almost  in 
sane  with  pity  as  he  contemplated  the  sufferings  of 
the  weak,  the  poor,  and  the  ignorant  at  the  hands 
of  an  intolerant,  cruel,  hypocritical,  and  bloodthirsty 
church.  It  is  no  wonder  that  such  a  man  predicted 
the  downfall  of  the  temple.  In  all  probability,  he 

*  The  Iconvcfast,  Indianapolis,  Indiana.    1883.  (135) 


hated,  at  last,  every  pillar  and  stone  in  it,  and  de 
spised  even  the  "  Holy  of  Holies."  This  man,  of 
course,  like  other  men,  grew.  He  did  not  die  with 
the  opinion  he  held  in  his  youth.  He  changed  his 
views  from  time  to  time — fanned  the  spark  of  reason 
into  a  flame,  and  as  he  grew  older  his  horizon  ex 
tended  and  widened,  and  he  became  gradually  a 
wiser,  greater,  and  better  man. 

I  find  two  or  three  Christs  described  in  the  four 
Gospels.  In  some  portions  you  would  imagine  that 
he  was  an  exceedingly  pious  Jew.  When  he  says 
that  people  must  not  swear  by  Jerusalem,  because 
it  is  God's  holy  city,  certainly  no  Pharisee  could  have 
gone  beyond  that  expression.  So,  too,  when  it  is 
recorded  that  he  drove  the  money  changers  from  the 
temple.  This,  had  it  happened,  would  have  been 
the  act  simply  of  one  who  had  respect  for  this  temple 
and  not  for  the  religion  taught  in  it. 

It  would  seem  that,  at  first,  Christ  believed  sub 
stantially  in  the  religion  of  his  time  ;  that  after 
ward,  seeing  its  faults,  he  wished  to  reform  it ;  and 
finally,  comprehending  it  in  all  its  enormity,  he  de 
voted  his  life  to  its  destruction.  This  view  shows 
that  he  "  increased  in  stature  and  grew  in  knowl 

This  view  is  also   supported   by  the   fact   that,  at 


first,  according  to  the  account,  Christ  distinctly  stated 
that  his  gospel  was  not  for  the  Gentiles.  At  that  time 
he  had  altogether  more  patriotism  than  philosophy. 
In  my  own  opinion,  he  was  driven  to  like  the  Gen 
tiles  by  the  persecution  he  endured  at  home.  He 
found,  as  every  Freethinker  now  finds,  that  there 
are  many  saints  not  in  churches  and  many  devils  not 

The  character  of  Christ,  in  many  particulars,  as 
described  in  the  Gospels,  depends  upon  who  wrote 
the  Gospels.  Each  one  endeavored  to  make  a  Christ 
to  suit  himself.  So  that  Christ,  after  all,  is  a  growth  ; 
and  since  the  Gospels  were  finished,  millions  of  men 
have  been  adding  to  and  changing  the  character  of 

There  is  another  thing  that  should  not  be  forgotten, 
and  that  is  that  the  Gospels  were  not  written  until 
after  the  Epistles.  I  take  it  for  granted  that  Paul 
never  saw  any  of  the  Gospels,  for  the  reason  that  he 
quotes  none  of  them.  There  is  also  this  remarkable 
fact :  Paul  quotes  none  of  the  miracles  of  the  New 
Testament.  He  says  not  one  word  about  the  mul 
titude  being  fed  miraculously,  not  one  word  about 
the  resurrection  of  Lazarus,  nor  of  the  widow's  son. 
He  had  never  heard  of  the  lame,  the  halt,  and  the 
blind  that  had  been  cured ;  or  if  he  had,  he  did  not 


think  these  incidents  of  enough  importance  to  be  em 
balmed  in  an  epistle. 

So  we  find  that  none  of  the  early  fathers  ever 
quoted  from  the  four  Gospels.  Nothing  can  be  more 
certain  than  that  the  four  Gospels  were  not  written 
until  after  the  Epistles,  and  nothing  can  be  more 
certain  than  that  the  early  Christians  knew  nothing 
of  what  we  call  the  Gospels  of  Matthew,  Mark,  Luke, 
and  John.  All  these  things  have  been  growths.  At 
first  it  was  believed  that  Christ  was  a  direct  descend 
ant  from  David.  At  that  time  the  disciples  of  Christ, 
of  course,  were  Jews.  The  Messiah  was  expected 
through  the  blood  of  David. — For  that  reason,  the 
genealogy  of  Joseph,  a  descendant  of  David,  was 
given.  It  was  not  until  long  after,  that  the  idea 
came  into  the  minds  of  Christians  that  Christ  was  the 
son  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  If  they,  at  the  time  the 
genealogy  was  given,  believed  that  Christ  was  in 
fact  the  son  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  why  did  they  give 
the  genealogy  of  Joseph  to  show  that  Christ  was  re 
lated  to  David  ?  In  other  words,  why  should  the 
son  of  God  attempt  to  get  glory  out  of  the  fact  that 
he  had  in  his  veins  the  blood  of  a  barbarian  king  ? 
There  is  only  one  answer  to  this.  The  Jews  ex 
pected  the  Messiah  through  David,  and  in  order  to 
prove  that  Christ  was  the  Messiah,  they  gave  the 


genealogy  of  Joseph.  Afterward,  the  idea  became 
popularized  that  Christ  was  the  son  of  God,  and  then 
were  interpolated  the  words  "  as  was  supposed"  in 
the  genealogy  of  Christ.  It  was  a  long  time  before 
the  disciples  became  great  enough  to  include  the 
world  in  their  scheme,  and  before  they  thought  it 
proper  to  tell  the  "  glad  tidings  of  great  joy  "  be 
yond  the  limits  of  Judea. 

My  own  opinion  is  that  the  man  called  Christ 
lived  ;  but  whether  he  lived  in  Palestine,  or  not,  is 
of  no  importance.  His  life  is  worth  its  example, 
its  moral  force,  its  benevolence,  its  self-denial  and 
heroism.  It  is  of  no  earthly  importance  whether  he 
changed  water  into  wine  or  not.  All  his  miracles 
are  simply  dust  and  darkness  compared  with  what 
he  actually  said  and  actually  did.  We  should  be 
kind  to  each  other  whether  Lazarus  was  raised  or 
not.  We  should  be  just  and  forgiving  whether 
Christ  lived  or  not.  All  the  miracles  in  the  world 
are  of  no  use  to  virtue,  morality,  or  justice.  Mir 
acles  belong  to  superstition,  to  ignorance,  to  fear 
and  folly. 

Neither  does  it  make  any  difference  who  wrote  the 
Gospels.  They  are  worth  the  truth  that  is  in  them 
and  no  more. 

The  words    of  Paul    are   often   quoted,  that  "  all 


scripture  is  given  by  inspiration  of  God."  Of  course 
that  could  not  have  applied  to  anything  written  after 
that  time.  It  could  have  applied  only  to  the  Scrip 
tures  then  written  and  then  known.  It  is  perfectly 
clear  that  the  four  Gospels  were  not  at  that  time 
written,  and  therefore  this  statement  of  Paul's  does 
not  apply  to  the  four  Gospels.  Neither  does  it  apply 
to  anything  written  after  that  statement  was  written. 
Neither  does  it  apply  to  that  statement.  If  it  ap 
plied  to  anything  it  was  the  Old  Testament,  and  not 
the  New. 

Christ  has  been  belittled  by  his  worshipers.  When 
stripped  of  the  miraculous  ;  when  allowed  to  be,  not 
divine  but  divinely  human,  he  will  have  gained  a 
thousandfold  in  the  estimation  of  mankind.  I  think 
of  him  as  I  do  of  Buddha,  as  I  do  of  Confucius,  of 
Epictetus,  of  Bruno.  I  place  him  with  the  great,  the 
generous,  the  self-denying  of  the  earth,  and  for  the 
man  Christ,  I  feel  only  admiration  and  respect.  I 
think  he  was  in  many  things  mistaken.  His  reliance 
upon  the  goodness  of  God  was  perfect.  He  seemed 
to  believe  that  his  father  in  heaven  would  protect 
him.  He  thought  that  if  God  clothed  the  lilies  of 
the  field  in  beauty,  if  he  provided  for  the  sparrows, 
he  would  surely  protect  a  perfectly  just  and  loving 
man.  In  this  he  was  mistaken  ;  and  in  the  darkness 


of  death,  overwhelmed,  he    cried   out :  "  Why  hast 
thou  forsaken  me  ?" 

I  do  not  believe  that  Christ  ever  claimed  to  be 
divine  ;  ever  claimed  to  be  inspired  ;  ever  claimed 
to  work  a  miracle.  In  short,  I  believe  that  he  was 
an  honest  man.  These  claims  were  all  put  in  his 
mouth  by  others — by  mistaken  friends,  by  ignorant 
worshipers,  by  zealous  and  credulous  followers,  and 
sometimes  by  dishonest  and  designing  priests.  This 
has  happened  to  all  the  great  men  of  the  world. 
All  historical  characters  are,  in  part,  deformed  or 
reformed  by  fiction.  There  was  a  man  by  the 
name  of  George  Washington,  but  no  such  George 
Washington  ever  existed  as  we  find  portrayed  in 
history.  The  historical  Caesar  never  lived.  The 
historical  Mohammed  is  simply  a  myth.  It  is  the 
task  of  modern  criticism  to  rescue  these  characters, 
and  in  the  mass  of  superstitious  rubbish  to  find  the 
actual  man.  Christians  borrowed  the  old  clothes  of 
the  Olympian  gods  and  gave  them  to  Christ.  To 
me,  Christ  the  man  is  far  greater  than  Christ  the 

To  me,  it  has  always  been  a  matter  of  wonder  that 
Christ  said  nothing  as  to  the  obligation  man  is  under 
to  his  country,  nothing  as  to  the  rights  of  the  people 
as  against  the  wish  and  will  of  kings,  nothing 


against  the  frightful  system  of  human  slavery — almost 
universal  in  his  time.  What  he  did  not  say  is  alto 
gether  more  wonderful  than  what  he  did  say.  It  is 
marvelous  that  he  said  nothing  upon  the  subject  of 
intemperance,  nothing  about  education,  nothing  about 
philosophy,  nothing  about  nature,  nothing  about  art. 
He  said  nothing  in  favor  of  the  home,  except  to  offer 
a  reward  to  those  who  would  desert  their  wives  and 
families.  Of  course,  I  do  not  believe  that  he  said 
the  words  that  were  attributed  to  him,  in  which  a  re 
ward  is  offered  to  any  man  who  will  desert  his 
kindred.  But  if  we  take  the  account  given  in  the 
four  Gospels  as  the  true  account,  then  Christ  did 
offer  a  reward  to  a  father  who  would  desert  his  chil 
dren.  It  has  always  been  contended  that  he  was  a 
perfect  example  of  mankind,  and  yet  he  never  mar 
ried.  As  a  result  of  what  he  did  not  teach  in  con 
nection  with  what  he  did  teach,  his  followers  saw  no 
harm  in  slavery,  no  harm  in  polygamy.  They  be 
littled  this  world  and  exaggerated  the  importance  of 
the  next.  They  consoled  the  slave  by  telling  him 
that  in  a  little  while  he  would  exchange  his  chains 
for  wings.  They  comforted  the  captive  by  saying 
that  in  a  few  days  he  would  leave  his  dungeon  for 
the  bowers  of  Paradise.  His  followers  believed  that 
he  had  said  that  "  Whosoever  believeth  not  shall 


be  damned."  This  passage  was  the  cross  upon  which 
intellectual  liberty  was  crucified. 

If  Christ  had  given  us  the  laws  of  health  ;  if  he 
had  told  us  how  to  cure  disease  by  natural  means  ; 
if  he  had  set  the  captive  free  ;  if  he  had  crowned 
the  people  with  their  rightful  power ;  if  he  had 
placed  the  home  above  the  church  ;  if  he  had  broken 
all  the  mental  chains  ;  if  he  had  flooded  all  the  caves 
and  dens  of  fear  with  light,  and  filled  the  future 
with  a  common  joy,  he  would  in  truth  have  been 
the  Savior  of  this  world. 

Question.  How  do  you  account  for  the  differ 
ence  between  the  Christian  and  other  modern 
civilizations  ? 

Answer.  I  account  for  the  difference  between 
men  by  the  difference  in  their  ancestry  and  surround 
ings — the  difference  in  soil,  climate,  food,  and  em 
ployment.  There  would  be  no  civilization  in  Eng 
land  were  it  not  for  the  Gulf  Stream.  There  would 
have  been  very  little  here  had  it  not  been  for  the 
discovery  of  Columbus.  And  even  now  on  this  con 
tinent  there  would  be  but  little  civilization  had  the 
soil  been  poor.  I  might  ask  :  How  do  you  account 
for  the  civilization  of  Egypt  ?  At  one  time  that  was 
the  greatest  civilization  in  the  world.  Did  that  fact 
prove  that  the  Egyptian  religion  was  of  divine 

134          REPLY   TO   THE    INDIANAPOLIS    CLERGY. 

origin  ?  So,  too,  there  was  a  time  when  the  civiliza 
tion  of  India  was  beyond  all  others.  Does  that 
prove  that  Vishnu  was  a  God  ?  Greece  dominated 
the  intellectual  world  for  centuries.  Does  that  fact 
absolutely  prove  that  Zeus  was  the  creator  of 
heaven  and  earth  ?  The  same  may  be  said  of  Rome. 
There  was  a  time  when  Rome  governed  the  world, 
and  yet  I  have  always  had  my  doubts  as  to  the  truth 
of  the  Roman  mythology.  As  a  matter  of  fact, 
Rome  was  far  better  than  any  Christian  nation  ever 
was  to  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century.  A 
thousand  years  of  Christian  rule  produced  no  fellow 
for  the  greatest  of  Rome.  There  were  no  poets  the 
equals  of  Horace  or  Virgil,  no  philosophers  as  great 
as  Lucretius,  no  orators  like  Cicero,  no  emperors 
like  Marcus  Aurelius,  no  women  like  the  mothers 
of  Rome. 

The  civilization  of  a  country  may  be  hindered  by 
a  religion,  but  it  has  never  been  increased  by  any 
form  of  superstition.  When  America  was  discover 
ed  it  had  the  same  effect  upon  Europe  that  it 
would  have,  for  instance,  upon  the  city  of  Chicago 
to  have  Lake  Michigan  put  the  other  side  of  it. 
The  Mediterranean  lost  its  trade.  The  centers  of 
commerce  became  deserted.  The  prow  of  the  world 
turned  westward,  and,  as  a  result,  France,  England, 


and  all  countries  bordering  on  the  Atlantic  became 
prosperous.  The  world  has  really  been  civilized  by 
discoverers — by  thinkers.  The  man  who  invented 
powder,  and  by  that  means  released  hundreds  of 
thousands  of  men  from  the  occupations  of  war,  did 
more  for  mankind  than  religion.  The  inventor  of 
paper — and  he  was  not  a  Christian — did  more  than 
all  the  early  fathers  for  mankind.  The  inventors  of 
plows,  of  sickles,  of  cradles,  of  reapers  ;  the  invent 
ors  of  wagons,  coaches,  locomotives  ;  the  inventors 
of  skiffs,  sail-vessels,  steamships  ;  the  men  who  have 
made  looms — in  short,  the  inventors  of  all  useful 
things — they  are  the  civilizers  taken  in  connection 
with  the  great  thinkers,  the  poets,  the  musicians, 
the  actors,  the  painters,  the  sculptors.  The  men 
who  have  invented  the  useful,  and  the  men  who 
have  made  the  useful  beautiful,  are  the  real  civil 
izers  of  mankind. 

The  priests,  in  all  ages,  have  been  hindrances — 
stumbling-blocks.  They  have  prevented  man  from 
using  his  reason.  They  have  told  ghost  stories  to 
courage  until  courage  became  fear.  They  have 
done  all  in  their  power  to  keep  men  from  growing 
intellectually,  to  keep  the  world  in  a  state  of  child 
hood,  that  they  themselves  might  be  deemed  great 
and  good  and  wise.  They  have  always  known  that 


their  reputation  for  wisdom  depended  upon  the 
ignorance  of  the  people. 

I  account  for  the  civilization  of  France  by  such 
men  as  Voltaire.  He  did  good  by  assisting  to  de 
stroy  the  church.  Luther  did  good  exactly  in  the 
same  way.  He  did  harm  in  building  another  church. 
I  account,  in  part,  for  the  civilization  of  England  by 
the  fact  that  she  had  interests  greater  than  the  church 
could  control  ;  and  by  the  further  fact  that  her 
greatest  men  cared  nothing  for  the  church.  I  ac 
count  in  part  for  the  civilization  of  America  by  the 
fact  that  our  fathers  were  wise  enough,  and  jealous 
of  each  other  enough,  to  absolutely  divorce  church 
and  state.  They  regarded  the  church  as  a  danger 
ous  mistress — one  not  fit  to  govern  a  president. 
This  divorce  was  obtained  because  men  like  Jeffer 
son  and  Paine  were  at  that  time  prominent  in  the 
councils  of  the  people.  There  is  this  peculiarity  in 
our  country — the  only  men  who  can  be  trusted  with 
human  liberty  are  the  ones  who  are  not  to  be  angels 
hereafter.  Liberty  is  safe  so  long  as  the  sinners 
have  an  opportunity  to  be  heard. 

Neither  must  we  imagine  that  our  civilization  is 
the  only  one  in  the  world.  They  had  no  locks  and 
keys  in  Japan  until  that  country  was  visited  by 
Christians,  and  they  are  now  used  only  in  those 


ports  where  Christians  are  allowed  to  enter.  It 
has  often  been  claimed  that  there  is  but  one  way 
to  make  a  man  temperate,  and  that  is  by  making 
him  a  Christian  ;  and  this  is  claimed  in  face  of  the 
fact  that  Christian  nations  are  the  most  intem 
perate  in  the  world.  For  nearly  thirteen  centuries 
the  followers  of  Mohammed  have  been  absolute 
teetotalers — not  one  drunkard  under  the  flag  of  the 
star  and  crescent.  Wherever,  in  Turkey,  a  man  is 
seen  under  the  influence  of  liquor,  they  call  him  a 
Christian.  You  must  also  remember  that  almost 
every  Christian  nation  has  held  slaves.  Only  a  few 
years  ago  England  was  engaged  in  the  slave  trade. 
A  little  while  before  that  our  Puritan  ancestors 
sold  white  Quaker  children  in  the  Barbadoes,  and 
traded  them  for  rum,  sugar,  and  negro  slaves.  Even 
now  the  latest  champion  of  Christianity  upholds 
slavery,  polygamy,  and  wars  of  extermination. 

Sometimes  I  suspect  that  our  own  civilization  is 
not  altogether  perfect.  When  I  think  of  the  peni 
tentiaries  crammed  to  suffocation,  and  of  the  many 
who  ought  to  be  in  ;  of  the  want,  the  filth,  the  de 
pravity  of  the  great  cities ;  of  the  starvation  in  the 
manufacturing  centers  of  Great  Britain,  and,  in  fact, 
of  all  Europe  ;  when  I  see  women  working  like 
beasts  of  burden,  and  little  children  deprived,  not 


simply  of  education,  but  of  air,  light  and  food,  there 
is  a  suspicion  in  my  mind  that  Christian  civilization 
is  not  a  complete  and  overwhelming  success. 

After  all,  I  am  compelled  to  account  for  the  ad 
vance  that  we  have  made,  by  the  discoveries  and 
inventions  of  men  of  genius.  For  the  future  I  rely 
upon  the  sciences  ;  upon  the  cultivation  of  the  in 
tellect.  I  rely  upon  labor  ;  upon  human  interests 
in  this  world  ;  upon  the  love  of  wife  and  children 
and  home.  I  do  not  rely  upon  sacred  books,  but 
upon  good  men  and  women.  I  do  not  rely  upon 
superstition,  but  upon  knowledge  ;  not  upon  mira 
cles,  but  upon  facts  ;  not  upon  the  dead,  but  upon 
the  living  ;  and  when  we  become  absolutely  civilized, 
we  shall  look  back  upon  the  superstitions  of  the 
world,  not  simply  with  contempt,  but  with  pity. 

Neither  do  I  rely  upon  missionaries  to  convert 
those  whom  we  are  pleased  to  call  "  the  heathen." 
Honest  commerce  is  the  great  civilizer.  We  ex 
change  ideas  when  we  exchange  fabrics.  The  effort 
to  force  a  religion  upon  the  people  always  ends  in 
war.  Commerce,  founded  upon  mutual  advantage, 
makes  peace.  An  honest  merchant  is  better  than  a 

Spain  was  blessed  with  what  is  called  Christian 
civilization,  and  yet,  for  hundreds  of  years,  that 


government  was  simply  an  organized  crime.  When 
one  pronounces  the  name  of  Spain,  he  thinks  of  the 
invasion  of  the  New  World,  the  persecution  in  the 
Netherlands,  the  expulsion  of  the  Jews,  and  the 
Inquisition.  Even  to-day,  the  Christian  nations  of 
Europe  preserve  themselves  from  each  other  by 
bayonet  and  ball.  Prussia  has  a  standing  army  of 
six  hundred  thousand  men,  France  a  half  million, 
and  all  their  neighbors  a  like  proportion.  These 
countries  are  civilized.  They  are  in  the  enjoyment 
of  Christian  governments — have  their  hundreds  of 
thousands  of  ministers,  and  the  land  covered  with 
cathedrals  and  churches — and  yet  every  nation  is 
nearly  beggared  by  keeping  armies  in  the  field. 
Christian  kings  have  no  confidence  in  the  promises 
of  each  other.  What  they  call  peace  is  the  little 
time  necessarily  spent  in  reloading  their  guns. 
England  has  hundreds  of  ships  of  war  to  protect 
her  commerce  from  other  Christians,  and  to  force 
China  to  open  her  ports  to  the  opium  trade.  Only 
the  other  day  the  Prime  Minister  of  China,  in  one 
of  his  dispatches  to  the  English  government,  used 
substantially  the  following  language :  "  England 
regards  the  opium  question  simply  as  one  of  trade, 
but  to  China,  it  has  a  moral  aspect."  Think  of 
Christian  England  carrying  death  and  desolation  to 


hundreds  of  thousands  in  the  name  of  trade.  Then 
think  of  heathen  China  protesting  in  the  name  of 
morality.  At  the  same  time  England  has  the  im 
pudence  to  send  missionaries  to  China. 

What  has  been  called  Christianity  has  been  a 
disturber  of  the  public  peace  in  all  countries  and  at 
all  times.  Nothing  has  so  alienated  nations,  nothing 
has  so  destroyed  the  natural  justice  of  mankind,  as 
what  has  been  known  as  religion.  The  idea  that  all 
men  must  worship  the  same  God,  believe  the  same 
dogmas,  has  for  thousands  of  years  plucked  with 
bloody  hands  the  flower  of  pity  from  the  human 

Our  civilization  is  not  Christian.  It  does  not  come 
from  the  skies.  It  is  not  a  result  of  "  inspiration." 
It  is  the  child  of  invention,  of  discovery,  of  applied 
knowledge — that  is  to  say,  of  science.  When  man 
becomes  great  and  grand  enough  to  admit  that  all 
have  equal  rights  ;  when  thought  is  untrammeled  ; 
when  worship  shall  consist  in  doing  useful  things  ; 
when  religion  means  the  discharge  of  obligations  to 
our  fellow-men,  then,  and  not  until  then,  will  the 
world  be  civilized. 


Question.  Since  Laplace  and  other  most  distin 
guished  astronomers  hold  to  the  theory  that  the 
earth  was  originally  in  a  gaseous  state,  and  then  a 
molten  mass  in  which  the  germs,  even,  of  vegetable 
or  animal  life,  could  not  exist,  how  do  you  account 
for  the  origin  of  life  on  this  planet  without  a  "  Cre 
ator  "  ?— DR.  T.  B.  TAYLOR. 

Answer.  Whether  or  not  "  the  earth  was  origin 
ally  in  a  gaseous  state  and  afterwards  a  molten  mass 
in  which  the  germs  of  vegetable  and  animal  life 
could  not  exist,"  I  do  not  know.  My  belief  is  that 
the  earth  as  it  is,  and  as  it  was,  taken  in  connection 
with  the  influence  of  the  sun,  and  of  other  planets, 
produced  whatever  has  existed  or  does  exist  on  the 
earth.  I  do  not  see  why  gas  would  not  need  a 
"  creator  "  as  much  as  a  vegetable.  Neither  can  I  im 
agine  that  there  is  any  more  necessity  for  some  one 
to  start  life  than  to  start  a  molten  mass.  There  may 
be  now  portions  of  the  world  in  which  there  is  not 



one  particle  of  vegetable  life.  It  may  be  that  on  the 
wide  waste  fields  of  the  Arctic  zone  there  are  places 
where  no  vegetable  life  exists,  and  there  may  be 
many  thousand  miles  where  no  animal  life  can  be 
found.  But  if  the  poles  of  the  earth  could  be  changed, 
and  if  the  Arctic  zone  could  be  placed  in  a  different 
relative  position  to  the  sun,  the  snows  would  melt, 
the  hills  would  appear,  and  in  a  little  while  even  the 
rocks  would  be  clothed  with  vegetation.  After  a 
time  vegetation  would  produce  mpre  soil,  and  in  a 
few  thousand  years  forests  would  be  filled  with 
beasts  and  birds. 

I  think  it  was  Sir  William  Thomson  who,  in  his 
effort  to  account  for  the  origin  of  life  upon  this  earth, 
stated  that  it  might  have  come  from  some  meteoric 
stone  falling  from  some  other  planet  having  in  it  the 
germs  of  life.  What  would  you  think  of  a  farmer 
who  would  prepare  his  land  and  wait  to  have  it 
planted  by  meteoric  stones?  So,  what  would  you 
think  of  a  Deity  who  would  make  a  world  like  this, 
and  allow  it  to  whirl  thousands  and  millions  of  years, 
barren  as  a  gravestone,  waiting  for  some  vagrant 
comet  to  sow  the  seeds  of  life  ? 

I  believe  that  back  of  animal  life  is  the  vegetable, 
and  back  of  the  vegetable,  it  may  be,  is  the  mineral. 
It  may  be  that  crystallization  is  the  first  step  toward 


what  we  call  life,  and  yet  I  believe  life  is  back  of 
that.  In  my  judgment,  if  the  earth  ever  was  in  a 
gaseous  state,  it  was  filled  with  life.  These  are  sub 
jects  about  which  we  know  but  little.  How  do  you 
account  for  chemistry  ?  How  do  you  account  for 
the  fact  that  just  so  many  particles  of  one  kind  seek 
the  society  of  just  so  many  particles  of  another,  and 
when  they  meet  they  instantly  form  a  glad  and  last 
ing  union  ?  How  do  you  know  but  atoms  have 
love  and  hatred  ?  How  do  you  know  that  the  vege 
table  does  not  enjoy  growing,  and  that  crystallization 
itself  is  not  an  expression  of  delight?  How  do  you 
know  that  a  vine  bursting  into  flower  does  not  feel 
a  thrill  ?  We  find  sex  in  the  meanest  weeds — how 
can  you  say  they  have  no  loves  ? 

After  all,  of  what  use  is  it  to  search  for  a  creator  ? 
The  difficulty  is  not  thus  solved.  You  leave  your 
creator  as  much  in  need  of  a  creator  as  anything 
your  creator  is  supposed  to  have  created.  The  bot 
tom  of  your  stairs  rests  on  nothing,  and  the  top  of 
your  stairs  leans  upon  nothing.  You  have  reached 
no  solution. 

The  word  "  God  "  is  simply  born  of  our  ignorance. 
We  go  as  far  as  we  can,  and  we  say  the  rest  of  the 
way  is  "  God."  We  look  as  far  as  we  can,  and  be 
yond  the  horizon,  where  there  is  nought  so  far  as  we 


know  but  blindness,  we  place  our  Deity.  We  see 
an  infinitesimal  segment  of  a  circle,  and  we  say  the 
rest  is  "  God." 

Man  must  give  up  searching  for  the  origin  of 
anything.  No  one  knows  the  origin  of  life,  or  of 
matter,  or  of  what  we  call  mind.  The  whence  and 
the  whither  are  questions  that  no  man  can  answer. 
In  the  presence  of  these  questions  all  intellects  are 
upon  a  level.  The  barbarian  knows  exactly  the 
same  as  the  scientist,  the  fool  as  the  philosopher. 
Only  those  who  think  that  they  have  had  some 
supernatural  information  pretend  to  answer  these 
questions,  and  the  unknowable,  the  impossible,  the 
unfathomable,  is  the  realm  wholly  occupied  by  the 

We  are  satisfied  that  all  organized  things  must 
have  had  a  beginning,  but  we  cannot  conceive  that 
matter  commenced  to  be.  Forms  change,  but  sub 
stance  remains  eternally  the  same.  A  beginning  of 
substance  is  unthinkable.  It  is  just  as  easy  to  con 
ceive  of  anything  commencing  to  exist  without  a  cause 
as  with  a  cause.  There  must  be  something  for  cause 
to  operate  upon.  Cause  operating  upon  nothing — 
were  such  a  thing  possible — would  produce  nothing. 
There  can  be  no  relation  between  cause  and  nothing. 
We  can  understand  how  things  can  be  arranged — 


joined  or  separated — and  how  relations  can  be 
changed  or  destroyed,  but  we  cannot  conceive  of 
creation — of  nothing  being  changed  into  something, 
nor  of  something  being  made — except  from  pre 
existing  materials. 

Question.  Since  the  universal  testimony  of  the 
ages  is  in  the  affirmative  of  phenomena  that  attest 
the  continued  existence  of  man  after  death — which 
testimony  is  overwhelmingly  sustained  by  the  phe 
nomena  of  the  nineteenth  century — what  further 
evidence  should  thoughtful  people  require  in  order 
to  settle  the  question,  "  Does  death  end  all  ?  " 

Answer.  I  admit  that  in  all  ages  men  have  be 
lieved  in  spooks  and  ghosts  and  signs  and  wonders. 
This,  however,  proves  nothing.  Men  have  for  thou 
sands  of  ages  believed  the  impossible,  and  worshiped 
the  absurd.  Our  ancestors  have  worshiped  snakes 
and  birds  and  beasts.  I  do  not  admit  that  any  ghost 
ever  existed.  I  know  that  no  miracle  was  ever 
performed  except  in  imagination  ;  and  what  you  are 
pleased  to  call  the  "  phenomena  of  the  nineteenth 
century,"  I  fear  are  on  an  exact  equality  with  the 
phenomena  of  the  Dark  Ages. 

We  do  not  yet  understand  the  action  of  the  brain. 
No  one  knows  the  origin  of  a  thought.  No  one 
knows  how  he  thinks,  or  why  he  thinks,  any  more 


than  one  knows  why  or  how  his  heart  beats.  Peo 
ple,  I  imagine,  have  always  had  dreams.  In  dreams 
they  often  met  persons  whom  they  knew  to  be 
dead,  and  it  may  be  that  much  of  the  philosophy 
of  the  present  was  born  of  dreams.  I  cannot  admit 
that  anything  supernatural  ever  has  happened  or  ever 
will  happen.  I  cannot  admit  the  truth  of  what  you 
call  the  "  phenomena  of  the  nineteenth  century,"  if 
by  such  "  phenomena "  you  mean  the  reappear 
ance  of  the  dead.  I  do  not  deny  the  existence  of 
a  future  state,  because  I  do  not  know.  Neither  do 
I  aver  that  there  is  one,  because  I  do  not  know. 
Upon  this  question  I  am  simply  honest.  I  find  that 
people  who  believe  in  immortality — or  at  least  those 
who  say  they  do — are  just  as  afraid  of  death  as  any 
body  else.  I  find  that  the  most  devout  Christian 
weeps  as  bitterly  above  his  dead,  as  the  man  who 
says  that  death  ends  all.  You  see  the  promises  are 
so  far  away,  and  the  dead  are  so  near.  Still,  I  do 
not  say  that  man  is  not  immortal ;  but  I  do  say  that 
there  is  nothing  in  the  Bible  to  show  that  he  is. 
The  Old  Testament  has  not  a  word  upon  the  sub 
ject — except  to  show  us  how  we  lost  immortality. 
According  to  that  book,  man  was  driven  from  the 
Garden  of  Eden,  lest  he  should  put  forth  his  hand 
and  eat  of  the  fruit  of  the  tree  of  life  and  live  for- 


ever.  So  the  fact  is,  the  Old  Testament  shows  us 
how  we  lost  immortality.  In  the  New  Testament 
we  are  told  to  seek  for  immortality,  and  it  is  also 
stated  that  "  God  alone  hath  immortality." 

There  is  this  curious  thing  about  Christians  and 
Spiritualists  :  The  Spiritualists  laugh  at  the  Chris 
tians  for  believing  the  miracles  of  the  New  Testa 
ment  ;  they  laugh  at  them  for  believing  the  story 
about  the  witch  of  Endor.  And  then  the  Chris 
tians  laugh  at  the  Spiritualists  for  believing  that 
the  same  kind  of  things  happen  now.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  the  Spiritualists  have  the  best  of  it,  because 
their  witnesses  are  now  living,  whereas  the  Chris 
tians  take  simply  the  word  of  the  dead — of  men 
they  never  saw  and  of  men  about  whom  they  know 
nothing.  The  Spiritualist,  at  least,  takes  the  testi 
mony  of  men  and  women  that  he  can  cross-examine. 
It  would  seem  as  if  these  gentlemen  ought  to  make 
common  cause.  Then  the  Christians  could  prove 
their  miracles  by  the  Spiritualists,  and  the  Spirit 
ualists  could  prove  their  "  phenomena "  by  the 

I  believe  that  thoughtful  people  require  some  ad 
ditional  testimony  in  order  to  settle  the  question, 
"  Does  death  end  all  ?  "  If  the  dead  return  to  this 
world  they  should  bring  us  information  of  value. 


There  are  thousands  of  questions  that  studious  his 
torians  and  savants  are  endeavoring  to  settle — 
questions  of  history,  of  philosophy,  of  law,  of  art, 
upon  which  a  few  intelligent  dead  ought  to  be  able 
to  shed  a  flood  of  light.  All  the  questions  of  the 
past  ought  to  be  settled.  Some  modern  ghosts 
ought  to  get  acquainted  with  some  of  the  Pharaohs, 
and  give  us  an  outline  of  the  history  of  Egypt. 
They  ought  to  be  able  to  read  the  arrow-headed 
writing  and  all  the  records  of  the  past.  The  hiero 
glyphics  of  all  ancient  peoples  should  be  unlocked, 
and  thoughts  and  facts  that  have  been  imprisoned 
for  so  many  thousand  years  should  be  released 
and  once  again  allowed  to  visit  brains.  The 
Spiritualists  ought  to  be  able  to  give  us  the  history 
of  buried  cities.  They  should  clothe  with  life  the 
dust  of  all  the  past.  If  they  could  only  bring  us 
valuable  information  ;  if  they  could  only  tell  us 
about  some  steamer  in  distress  so  that  succor 
could  be  sent ;  if  they  could  only  do  something  use 
ful,  the  world  would  cheerfully  accept  their  theories 
and  admit  their  "  facts."  I  think  that  thoughtful 
people  have  the  right  to  demand  such  evidence.  I 
would  like  to  have  the  spirits  give  us  the  history 
of  all  the  books  of  the  New  Testament  and  tell  us 
who  first  told  of  the  miracles.  If  they  could  give  us 


the  history  of  any  religion,  or  nation,  or  anything, 
I  should  have  far  more  confidence  in  the  "  phe 
nomena  of  the  nineteenth  century." 

There  is  one  thing  about  the  Spiritualists  I  like, 
and  that  is,  they  are  liberal.  They  give  to  others 
the  rights  they  claim  for  themselves.  They  do  not 
pollute  their  souls  with  the  dogma  of  eternal  pain. 
They  do  not  slander  and  persecute  even  those  who 
deny  their  "  phenomena."  But  I  cannot  admit  that 
they  have  furnished  conclusive  evidence  that  death 
does  not  end  all.  Beyond  the  horizon  of  this  life 
we  have  not  seen.  From  the  mysterious  beyond  no 
messenger  has  come  to  me. 

For  the  whole  world  I  would  not  blot  from  the 
sky  of  the  future  a  single  star.  Arched  by  the  bow 
of  hope  let  the  dead  sleep. 

Question.  How,  when,  where,  and  by  whom  was 
our  present  calendar  originated, —  that  is  "Anno 
Domini," — and  what  event  in  the  history  of  the  na 
tions  does  it  establish  as  a  fact,  if  not  the  birth  of 
Jesus  of  Nazareth  ? 

Answer.  I  have  already  said,  in  answer  to  a 
question  by  another  gentleman,  that  I  believe  the 
man  Jesus  Christ  existed,  and  we  now  date  from 
somewhere  near  his  birth.  I  very  much  doubt  about 


his  having  been  born  on  Christmas,  because  in  read 
ing  other  religions,  I  find  that  that  time  has  been 
celebrated  for  thousands  of  years,  and  the  cause  of 
it  is  this  : 

About  the  2istor  226.  of  December  is  the  shortest 
day.  After  that  the  days  begin  to  lengthen  and  the 
sun  comes  back,  and  for  many  centuries  in  most 
nations  they  had  a  festival  in  commemoration  of 
that  event.  The  Christians,  I  presume,  adopted  this 
day,  and  made  the  birth  of  Christ  fit  it.  Three 
months  afterward — the  2 1  st  of  March — the  days  and 
nights  again  become  equal,  and  the  day  then  begins 
to  lengthen.  For  centuries  the  nations  living  in 
the  temperate  zones  have  held  festivals  to  com 
memorate  the  coming  of  spring — the  yearly  miracle 
of  leaf,  of  bud  and  flower.  This  is  the  celebration 
known  as  Easter,  and  the  Christians  adopted  that  in 
commemoration  of  Christ's  resurrection.  So  that, 
as  a  matter  of  fact,  these  festivals  of  Christmas  and 
Easter  do  not  even  tend  to  show  that  they  stand  for 
or  are  in  any  way  connected  with  the  birth  or  resur 
rection  of  Christ.  In  fact  the  evidence  is  over 
whelmingly  the  other  way. 

While  we  are  on  the  calendar  business  it  may  be 
well  enough  to  say  that  we  get  our  numerals  from 
the  Arabs,  from  whom  also  we  obtained  our  ideas  of 


algebra.  The  higher  mathematics  came  to  us  from 
the  same  source.  So  from  the  Arabs  we  receive 
chemistry,  and  our  first  true  notions  of  geography. 
They  gave  us  also  paper  and  cotton. 

Owing  to  the  fact  that  the  earth  does  not  make 
its  circuit  in  the  exact  time  of  three  hundred  and 
sixty-five  days  and  a  quarter,  and  owing  to  the 
fact  that  it  was  a  long  time  before  any  near  approach 
was  made  to  the  actual  time,  all  calendars  after 
awhile  became  too  inaccurate  for  general  use,  and 
they  were  from  time  to  time  changed. 

Right  here,  it  may  be  well  enough  to  remark, 
that  all  the  monuments  and  festivals  in  the  world 
are  not  sufficient  to  establish  an  impossible  event. 
No  amount  of  monumental  testimony,  no  amount  of 
living  evidence,  can  substantiate  a  miracle.  The 
monument  only  proves  the  belief  of  the  builders. 

If  we  rely  upon  the  evidence  of  monuments,  cal 
endars,  dates,  and  festivals,  all  the  religions  on  the 
earth  can  be  substantiated.  Turkey  is  filled  with 
such  monuments  and  much  of  the  time  wasted  in 
such  festivals.  We  celebrate  the  Fourth  of  July, 
but  such  celebration  does  not  even  tend  to  prove 
that  God,  by  his  special  providence,  protected 
Washington  from  the  arrows  of  an  Indian.  The 
Hebrews  celebrate  what  is  called  the  Passover,  but 


this  celebration  does  not  even  tend  to  prove  that 
the  angel  of  the  Lord  put  blood  on  the  door-posts 
in  Egypt.  The  Mohammedans  celebrate  to-day  the 
flight  of  Mohammed,  but  that  does  not  tend  to  prove 
that  Mohammed  was  inspired  and  was  a  prophet  of 

Nobody  can  change  a  falsehood  to  a  truth  by  the 
erection  of  a  monument.  Monuments  simply  prove 
that  people  endeavor  to  substantiate  truths  and 
falsehoods  by  the  same  means. 


Question.  Letting  the  question  as  to  hell  here 
after  rest  for  the  present,  how  do  you  account  for  the 
hell  here — namely,  the  existence  of  pain  ?  There 
are  people  who,  by  no  fault  of  their  own,  are  at  this 
present  time  in  misery.  If  for  these  there  is  no  life 
to  come,  their  existence  is  a  mistake  ;  but  if  there  is 
a  life  to  come,  it  may  be  that  the  sequel  to  the  acts 
of  the  play  to  come  will  justify  the  pain  and  misery 
of  this  present  time  ? — REV.  MYRON  W.  REED. 

Answer.     There  are  four  principal  theories  : 

First — That  there  is  behind  the  universe  a  being 
of  infinite  power  and  wisdom,  kindness,  and  justice. 

Second — That  the  universe  has  existed  from 
eternity,  and  that  it  is  the  only  eternal  existence,  and 
that  behind  it  is  no  creator. 

Third — That  there  is  a  God  who  made  the  uni 
verse,  but  who  is  not  all-powerful  and  who  is,  under 
the  circumstances,  doing  the  best  he  can. 

Fourth — That  there  is  an   all-powerful  God  who 


154          REPLY   TO   THE    INDIANAPOLIS    CLERGY. 

made  the  universe,  and  that  there  is  also  a  nearly 
all-powerful  devil,  and  this  devil  ravels  about  as  fast 
as  this  God  knits. 

By  the  last  theory,  as  taught  by  Plato,  it  is  ex 
tremely  easy  to  account  for  the  misery  in  this  world. 
If  we  admit  that  there  is  a  malevolent  being  with 
power  enough,  and  with  cunning  enough,  to  fre 
quently  circumvent  God,  the  problem  of  evil  becomes 
solved  so  far  as  this  world  is  concerned.  But  why 
this  being  was  evil  is  still  unsolved  ;  why  the  devil 
is  malevolent  is  still  a  mystery.  Consequently  you 
will  have  to  go  back  of  this  world,  on  that  theory, 
to  account  for  the  origin  of  evil.  If  this  devil  al 
ways  existed,  then,  of  course,  the  universe  at  one 
time  was  inhabited  only  by  this  God  and  this  devil. 

If  the  third  theory  is  correct,  we  can  account  for  the 
fact  that  God  does  not  see  to  it  that  justice  is  always 

If  the  second  theory  is  true,  that  the  universe  has 
existed  from  eternity,  and  is  without  a  creator,  then 
we  must  account  for  the  existence  of  evil  and  good, 
not  by  personalities  behind  the  universe,  but  by  the 
nature  of  things. 

If  there  is  an  infinitely  good  and  wise  being  who 
created  all,  it  seems  to  me  that  he  should  have  made 
a  world  in  which  innocence  should  be  a  sufficient 


shield.     He  should  have  made  a  world  where  the 
just  man  should  have  nothing  to  fear. 

My  belief  is  this  :  We  are  surrounded  by  obsta 
cles.  We  are  filled  with  wants.  We  must  have 
clothes.  We  must  have  food.  We  must  protect 
ourselves  from  sun  and  storm,  from  heat  and  cold. 
In  our  conflict  with  these  obstacles,  with  each  other, 
and  with  what  may  be  called  the  forces  of  nature,  all 
do  not  succeed.  It  is  a  fact  in  nature  that  like  be 
gets  like  ;  that  man  gives  his  constitution,  at  least 
in  part,  to  his  children  ;  that  weakness  and  strength 
are  in  some  degree  both  hereditary.  This  is  a  fact 
in  nature.  I  do  not  hold  any  god  responsible  for 
this  fact — filled  as  it  is  with  pain  and  joy.  But  it 
seems  to  me  that  an  infinite  God  should  so  have 
arranged  matters  that  the  bad  would  not  pass — 
that  it  would  die  with  its  possessor — that  the  good 
should  survive,  and  that  the  man  should  give  to  his 
son,  not  the  result  of  his  vices,  but  the  fruit  of  his 

I  cannot  see  why  we  should  expect  an  infinite  God 
to  do  better  in  another  world  than  he  does  in  this. 
If  he  allows  injustice  to  prevail  here,  why  will  he 
not  allow  the  same  thing  in  the  world  to  come  ?  If 
there  is  any  being  with  power  to  prevent  it,  why  is 
crime  permitted  ?  If  a  man  standing  upon  the  rail- 

156          REPLY   TO   THE   INDIANAPOLIS    CLERGY. 

way  should  ascertain  that  a  bridge  had  been  carried 
off  by  a  flood,  and  if  he  also  knew  that  the  train 
was  coming  filled  with  men,  women,  and  children  ; 
with  husbands  going  to  their  wives,  and  wives  re 
joining  their  families  ;  if  he  made  no  effort  to  stop 
that  train  ;  if  he  simply  sat  down  by  the  roadside  to 
witness  the  catastrophe,  and  so  remained  until  the 
train  dashed  off  the  precipice,  and  its  load  of  life 
became  a  mass  of  quivering  flesh,  he  would  be  de 
nounced  by  every  good  man  as  the  most  monstrous 
of  human  beings.  And  yet  this  is  exactly  what  the 
supposed  God  does.  He,  if  he  exists,  sees  the  train 
rushing  to  the  gulf.  He  gives  no  notice.  He  sees 
the  ship  rushing  for  the  hidden  rock.  He  makes  no 
sign.  And  he  so  constructed  the  world  that  assas 
sins  lurk  in  the  air — hide  even  in  the  sunshine — and 
when  we  imagine  that  we  are  breathing  the  breath  of 
life,  we  are  taking  into  ourselves  the  seeds  of 

There  are  two  facts  inconsistent  in  my  mind — a 
martyr  and  a  God.  Injustice  upon  earth  renders  the 
justice  of  heaven  impossible. 

I  would  not  take  from  those  suffering  in  this 
world  the  hope  of  happiness  hereafter.  My  princi 
pal  object  has  been  to  take  away  from  them  the  fear 
of  eternal  pain  hereafter.  Still,  it  is  impossible  for 


me  to  explain  the  facts  by  which  I  am  surrounded, 
if  I  admit  the  existence  of  an  infinite  Being.  I  find 
in  this  world  that  physical  and  mental  evils  afflict 
the  good.  It  seems  to  me  that  I  have  the  same 
reason  to  expect  the  bad  to  be  rewarded  hereafter. 
I  have  no  right  to  suppose  that  infinite  wisdom  will 
ever  know  any  more,  or  that  infinite  benevolence 
will  increase  in  kindness,  or  that  the  justice  of  the 
eternal  can  change.  If,  then,  this  eternal  being 
allows  the  good  to  suffer  pain  here,  what  right  have 
we  to  say  that  he  will  not  allow  them  to  suffer  for 
ever  ? 

Some  people  have  insisted  that  this  life  is  a  kind 
of  school  for  the  production  of  self-denying  men  and 
women — that  is,  for  the  production  of  character. 
The  statistics  show  that  a  large  majority  die  under 
five  years  of  age.  What  would  we  think  of  a  school 
master  who  killed  the  most  of  his  pupils  the  first  day  ? 
If  this  doctrine  is  true,  and  if  manhood  cannot  be 
produced  in  heaven,  those  who  die  in  childhood  are 
infinitely  unfortunate. 

I  admit  that,  although  I  do  not  understand  the  sub 
ject,  still,  all  pain,  all  misery  may  be  for  the  best.  I 
do  not  know.  If  there  is  an  infinitely  wise  Being, 
who  is  also  infinitely  powerful,  then  everything  that 
happens  must  be  for  the  best.  That  philosophy  of 


special  providence,  going  to  the  extreme,  is  infinitely 
better  than  most  of  the  Christian  creeds.  There 
seems  to  be  no  half-way  house  between  special 
providence  and  atheism.  You  know  some  of  the 
Buddhists  say  that  when  a  man  commits  murder,  that 
is  the  best  thing  he  could  have  done,  and  that  to  be 
murdered  was  the  best  thing  that  could  have  happened 
to  the  killed.  They  insist  that  every  step  taken  is  the 
necessary  step  and  the  best  step  ;  that  crimes  are  as 
necessary  as  virtues,  and  that  the  fruit  of  crime  and 
virtue  is  finally  the  same. 

But  whatever  theories  we  have,  we  have  at  last 
to  be  governed  by  the  facts.  We  are  in  a  world 
where  vice,  deformity,  weakness,  and  disease  are 
hereditary.  In  the  presence  of  this  immense  and 
solemn  truth  rises  the  religion  of  the  body.  Every 
man  should  refuse  to  increase  the  misery  of  this 
world.  And  it  may  be  that  the  time  will  come  when 
man  will  be  great  enough  and  grand  enough  ut 
terly  to  refrain  from  the  propagation  of  disease  and 
deformity,  and  when  only  the  healthy  will  be  fathers 
and  mothers.  We  do  know  that  the  misery  in  this 
world  can  be  lessened  ;  consequently  I  believe  in  the 
religion  of  this  world.  And  whether  there  is  a 
heaven  or  hell  here,  or  hereafter,  every  good  man  has 
enough  to  do  to  make  this  world  a  little  better  than 


it  is.  Millions  of  lives  are  wasted  in  the  vain  effort 
to  find  the  origin  of  things,  and  the  destiny  of  man. 
This  world  has  been  neglected.  We  have  been 
taught  that  life  should  be  merely  a  preparation  for 

To  avoid  pain  we  must  know  the  conditions  of 
health.  For  the  accomplishment  of  this  end  we  must 
rely  upon  investigation  instead  of  faith,  upon  labor 
in  place  of  prayer.  Most  misery  is  produced  by  ig 
norance.  Passions  sow  the  seeds  of  pain. 

Question.  State  with  what  words  you  can  com 
fort  those  who  have,  by  their  own  fault,  or  by  the 
fault  of  others,  found  this  life  not  worth  living  ? 

Answer.  If  there  is  no  life  beyond  this,  and  so 
believing  I  come  to  the  bedside  of  the  dying — of  one 
whose  life  has  been  a  failure — a  ' '  life  not  worth  liv 
ing,"  I  could  at  least  say  to  such  an  one, "  Your  failure 
ends  with  your  death.  Beyond  the  tomb  there  is 
nothing  for  you — neither  pain  nor  misery,  neither 
grief  nor  joy."  But  if  I  were  a  good  orthodox  Chris 
tian,  then  I  would  have  to  say  to  this  man,  "Your 
life  has  been  a  failure  ;  you  have  not  been  a  Chris 
tian,  and  the  failure  will  be  extended  eternally  ;  you 
have  not  only  been  a  failure  for  a  time,  but  you  will 
be  a  failure  forever." 


Admitting  that  there  is  another  world,  and  that 
the  man's  life  had  been  a  failure  in  this,  then  I 
should  say  to  him,  "  If  you  live  again,  you  will  have 
the  eternal  opportunity  to  reform.  There  will  be 
no  time,  no  date,  no  matter  how  many  millions  and 
billions  of  ages  may  have  passed  away,  at  which  you 
will  not  have  the  opportunity  of  doing  right." 

Under  no  circumstances  could  I  consistently  say 
to  this  man  :  "  Although  your  life  has  been  a  failure  ; 
although  you  have  made  hundreds  and  thousands  of 
others  suffer ;  although  you  have  deceived  and  be 
trayed  the  woman  who  loved  you  ;  although  you 
have  murdered  your  benefactor ;  still,  if  you  will 
now  repent  and  believe  a  something  that  is  unrea 
sonable  or  reasonable  to  your  mind,  you  will,  at  the 
moment  of  death,  be  transferred  to  a  world  of 
eternal  joy."  This  I  could  not  say.  I  would  tell 
him,  "  If  you  die  a  bad  man  here,  you  will  commence 
the  life  to  come  with  the  same  character  you  leave 
this.  Character  cannot  be  made  by  another  for  you. 
You  must  be  the  architect  of  your  own."  There  is 
to  me  unspeakably  more  comfort  in  the  idea  that 
every  failure  ends  here,  than  that  it  is  to  be  perpetu 
ated  forever. 

How  can  a  Christian  comfort  the  mother  of  a  girl 
who  has  died  without  believing  in  Christ  ?  What 


doctrine  is  there  in  Christianity  to  wipe  away  her 
tears  ?  What  words  of  comfort  can  you  offer  to  the 
mother  whose  brave  boy  fell  in  defence  of  his  coun 
try,  she  knowing  and  you  knowing,  that  the  boy  was 
not  a  Christian,  that  he  did  not  believe  in  the  Bible, 
and  had  no  faith  in  the  blood  of  the  atonement  ? 
What  words  of  comfort  have  you  for  such  fathers 
and  for  such  mothers  ? 

To  me,  there  is  no  doctrine  so  infinitely  absurd 
as  the  idea  that  this  life  is  a  probationary  state — 
that  the  few  moments  spent  here  decide  the  fate  of 
a  human  soul  forever.  Nothing  can  be  conceived 
more  merciless,  more  unjust.  I  am  doing  all  I  can 
to  destroy  that  doctrine.  I  want,  if  possible,  to  get 
the  shadow  of  hell  from  the  human  heart. 

Why  has  any  life  been  a  failure  here  ?  If  God  is 
a  being  of  infinite  wisdom  and  kindness,  why  does 
he  make  failures  ?  What  excuse  has  infinite  wisdom 
for  peopling  the  world  with  savages  ?  Why  should 
one  feel  grateful  to  God  for  having  made  him  with 
a  poor,  weak  and  diseased  brain  ;  for  having  allowed 
him  to  be  the  heir  of  consumption,  of  scrofula,  or  of 
insanity  ?  Why  should  one  thank  God,  who  lived 
and  died  a  slave  ? 

After  all,  is  it  not  of  more  importance  to  speak 
the  absolute  truth  ?  Is  it  not  manlier  to  tell  the 


fact  than  to  endeavor  to  convey  comfort  through 
falsehood  ?  People  must  reap  not  only  what  they 
sow,  but  what  others  have  sown.  The  people  of  the 
whole  world  are  united  in  spite  of  themselves. 

Next  to  telling  a  man,  whose  life  has  been  a  fail 
ure,  that  he  is  to  enjoy  an  immortality  of  delight — 
next  to  that,  is  to  assure  him  that  a  place  of  eternal 
punishment  does  not  exist. 

After  all,  there  are  but  few  lives  worth  living  in 
any  great  and  splendid  sense.  Nature  seems  filled 
with  failure,  and  she  has  made  no  exception  in  favor 
of  man.  To  the  greatest,  to  the  most  successful,  there 
comes  a  time  when  the  fevered  lips  of  life  long  for 
the  cool,  delicious  kiss  of  death — when,  tired  of  the 
dust  and  glare  of  day,  they  hear  with  joy  the  rust 
ling  garments  of  the  night. 


"  A  RCHIBALD  ARMSTRONG  and  Jonathan 
**•  Newgate  were  fast  friends.  Their  views  in 
regard  to  the  question  of  a  future  life,  and  the  exist 
ence  of  a  God,  were  in  perfect  accord.  They  said  : 
'  We  know  so  little  about  these  matters  that  we  are 
not  justified  in  giving  them  any  serious  consideration. 
Our  motto  and  rule  of  life  shall  be  for  each  one  to 
make  himself  as  comfortable  as  he  can,  and  enjoy 
every  pleasure  within  his  reach,  not  allowing  himself 
to  be  influenced  at  all  by  thoughts  of  a  future  life.' 

"  Both  had  some  money.  Archibald  had  a  large 
amount.  Once  upon  a  time  when  no  human  eye 
saw  him — and  he  had  no  belief  in  a  God — Jonathan 
stole  every  dollar  of  his  friend's  wealth,  leaving  him 
penniless.  He  had  no  fear,  no  remorse  ;  no  one  saw 
him  do  the  deed.  He  became  rich,  enjoyed  life 
immensely,  lived  in  contentment  and  pleasure,  until 
in  mellow  old  age  he  went  the  way  of  all  flesh. 
Archibald  fared  badly.  The  odds  were  against  him. 



His  money  was  gone.  He  lived  in  penury  and 
discontent,  dissatisfied  with  mankind  and  with  him 
self,  until  at  last,  overcome  by  misfortune,  and 
depressed  by  an  incurable  malady,  he  sought  rest 
in  painless  suicide." 

Question.  What  are  we  to  think  of  the  rule  of 
life  laid  down  by  these  men  ?  Was  either  of  them 
inconsistent  or  illogical  ?  Is  there  no  remedy  to  cor 
rect  such  irregularities  ? — REV.  D.  O'DONAGHUE. 

Answer.  The  Rev.  Mr.  O'Donaghue  seems  to 
entertain  strange  ideas  as  to  right  and  wrong. 
He  tells  us  that  Archibald  Armstrong  and  Jonathan 
Newgate  concluded  to  make  themselves  as  comfort 
able  as  they  could  and  enjoy  every  pleasure  within 
their  reach,  and  the  Rev.  Mr.  O'Donaghue  states  that 
one  of  the  pleasures  within  the  reach  of  Mr.  Newgate 
was  to  steal  what  little  money  Mr.  Armstrong  had. 
Does  the  reverend  gentleman  think  that  Mr.  New 
gate  made  or  could  make  himself  comfortable  in 
that  way  ?  He  tells  us  that  Mr.  Newgate  "  had  no 
remorse," — that  he  "  became  rich  and  enjoyed  life 
immensely," — that  he  "  lived  in  contentment  and 
pleasure,  until,  in  mellow  old  age,  he  went  the  way 
of  all  flesh." 

Does  the  reverend  gentleman  really  believe  that 


a  man  can  steal  without  fear,  without  remorse? 
Does  he  really  suppose  that  one  can  enjoy  the 
fruits  of  theft,  that  a  criminal  can  live  a  contented 
and  happy  life,  that  one  who  has  robbed  his  friend 
can  reach  a  mellow  and  delightful  old  age  ?  Is  this 
the  philosophy  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  O'Donaghue  ? 

And  right  here  I  may  be  permitted  to  ask,  Why 
did  the  Rev.  Mr.  O'Donaghue's  God  allow  a  thief 
to  live  without  fear,  without  remorse,  to  enjoy  life 
immensely  and  to  reach  a  mellow  old  age  ?  And 
why  did  he  allow  Mr.  Armstrong,  who  had  been 
robbed,  to  live  in  penury  and  discontent,  until  at 
last,  overcome  by  misfortune,  he  sought  rest  in 
suicide  ?  Does  the  Rev.  Mr.  O'Donaghue  mean  to 
say  that  if  there  is  no  future  life  it  is  wise  to  steal 
in  this  ?  If  the  grave  is  the  eternal  home,  would 
the  Rev.  Mr.  O'Donaghue  advise  people  to  commit 
crimes  in  order  that  they  may  enjoy  this  life  ?  Such 
is  not  my  philosophy.  Whether  there  is  a  God  or 
not,  truth  is  better  than  falsehood.  Whether  there 
is  a  heaven  or  hell,  honesty  is  always  the  best 
policy.  There  is  no  world,  and  can  be  none,  where 
vice  can  sow  the  seed  of  crime  and  reap  the  sheaves 
of  joy. 

According  to  my  view,  Mr.  Armstrong  was  alto 
gether  more  fortunate  than  Mr.  Newgate.  I  had 


rather  be  robbed  than  to  be  a  robber,  and  I  had 
rather  be  of  such  a  disposition  that  I  would  be 
driven  to  suicide  by  misfortune  than  to  live  in  con 
tentment  upon  the  misfortunes  of  others.  The 
reverend  gentleman,  however,  should  have  made 
his  question  complete — he  should  have  gone  the 
entire  distance.  He  should  have  added  that  Mr. 
Newgate,  after  having  reached  a  mellow  old  age, 
was  suddenly  converted,  joined  the  church,  and  died 
in  the  odor  of  sanctity  on  the  very  day  that  his  vic 
tim  committed  suicide. 

But  I  will  answer  the  fable  of  the  reverend  gen 
tleman  with  a  fact. 

A  young  man  was  in  love  with  a  girl.  She  was 
young,  beautiful,  and  trustful.  She  belonged  to  no 
church — knew  nothing  about  a  future  world — basked 
in  the  sunshine  of  this.  All  her  life  had  been  filled 
with  gentle  deeds.  The  tears  of  pity  had  sancti 
fied  her  cheeks.  She  believed  in  no  religion,  wor 
shiped  no  God,  believed  no  Bible,  but  loved  every 
thing.  Her  lover  in  a  fit  of  jealous  rage  murdered 
her.  He  was  tried  ;  convicted  ;  a  motion  for  a  new 
trial  overruled  and  a  pardon  refused.  In  his  cell, 
in  the  shadow  of  death,  he  was  converted — he  be 
came  a  Catholic.  With  the  white  lips  of  fear  he 
confessed  to  a  priest.  He  received  the  sacrament. 


He  was  hanged,  and  from  the  rope's  end  winged  his 
way  to  the  realms  of  bliss.  For  months  the  mur 
dered  girl  had  suffered  all  the  pains  and  pangs  of 

The  poor  girl  will  endure  the  agony  of  the  dam 
ned  forever,  while  her  murderer  will  be  ravished  with 
angelic  chant  and  song.  Such  is  the  justice  of  the 
orthodox  God. 

Allow  me  to  use  the  language  of  the  reverend 
gentleman  :  "Is  there  no  remedy  to  correct  such 
irregularities  ?  " 

As  long  as  the  idea  of  eternal  punishment  remains 
a  part  of  the  Christian  system,  that  system  will  be 
opposed  by  every  man  of  heart  and  brain.  Of  all 
religious  dogmas  it  is  the  most  shocking,  infamous, 
and  absurd.  The  preachers  of  this  doctrine  are  the 
enemies  of  human  happiness  ;  they  are  the  assassins 
of  natural  joy.  Every  father,  every  mother,  every 
good  man,  every  loving  woman,  should  hold  this 
doctrine  in  abhorrence  ;  they  should  refuse  to  pay 
men  for  preaching  it ;  they  should  not  build  churches 
in  which  this  infamy  is  taught ;  they  should  teach 
their  little  children  that  it  is  a  lie  ;  they  should  take 
this  horror  from  childhood's  heart — a  horror  that 
makes  the  cradle  as  terrible  as  the  coffin.  • 



Question.  The  clergymen  who  have  been  inter 
viewed,  almost  unanimously  have  declared  that  the 
church  is  suffering  very  little  from  the  skepticism  of 
the  day,  and  that  the  influence  of  the  scientific  writers, 
whose  opinions  are  regarded  as  atheistic  or  infidel, 
is  not  great ;  and  that  the  books  of  such  writers  are 
not  read  as  much  as  some  people  think  they  are. 
What  is  your  opinion  with  regard  to  that  subject  ? 

Answer.  It  is  natural  for  a  man  to  defend  his 
business,  to  stand  by  his  class,  his  caste,  his  creed. 
And  I  suppose  this  accounts  for  the  ministers  all  say 
ing  that  infidelity  is  not  on  the  increase.  By  com 
paring  long  periods  of  time,  it  is  very  easy  to  see  the 
progress  that  has  been  made.  Only  a  few  years  ago 
men  who  are  now  considered  quite  orthodox  would 
have  been  imprisoned,  or  at  least  mobbed,  for  heresy. 
Only  a  few  years  ago  men  like  Huxley  and  Tyndall 
and  Spencer  and  Darwin  and  Humboldt  would  have 
been  considered  as  the  most  infamous  of  monsters. 

*  Brooklyn  Union,  1888.  (169) 


Only  a  few  years  ago  science  was  superstition's  hired 
man.  The  scientific  men  apologized  for  every  fact 
they  happened  to  find.  With  hat  in  hand  they 
begged  pardon  of  the  parson  for  finding  a  fossil,  and 
asked  the  forgiveness  of  God  for  making  any  discov 
ery  in  nature.  At  that  time  every  scientific  discov 
ery  was  something  to  be  pardoned.  Moses  was 
authority  in  geology,  and  Joshua  was  considered  the 
first  astronomer  of  the  world.  Now  everything  has 
changed,  and  everybody  knows  it  except  the  clergy. 
Now  religion  is  taking  off"  its  hat  to  science.  Relig 
ion  is  finding  out  new  meanings  for  old  texts.  We 
are  told  that  God  spoke  in  the  language  of  the  com 
mon  people  ;  that  he  was  not  teaching  any  science  ; 
that  he  allowed  his  children  not  only  to  remain  in 
error,  but  kept  them  there.  It  is  now  admitted  that 
the  Bible  is  no  authority  on  any  question  of  natural 
fact ;  it  is  inspired  only  in  morality,  in  a  spiritual 
way.  All,  except  the  Brooklyn  ministers,  see  that 
the  Bible  has  ceased  to  be  regarded  as  authority. 
Nobody  appeals  to  a  passage  to  settle  a  dispute  of 
fact.  The  most  intellectual  men  of  the  world  laugh 
at  the  idea  of  inspiration.  Men  of  the  greatest 
reputations  hold  all  supernaturalism  in  contempt. 
Millions  of  people  are  reading  the  opinions  of  men 
who  combat  and  deny  the  foundation  of  orthodox 


Christianity.  Humboldt  stands  higher  than  all  the 
apostles.  Darwin  has  done  more  to  change  human 
thought  than  all  the  priests  who  have  existed.  Where 
there  was  one  infidel  twenty-five  years  ago,  there 
are  one  hundred  now.  I  can  remember  when  I 
would  be  the  only  infidel  in  the  town.  Now  I  meet 
them  thick  as  autumn  leaves  ;  they  are  everywhere. 
In  all  the  professions,  trades,  and  employments, 
the  orthodox  creeds  are  despised.  They  are  not 
simply  disbelieved  ;  they  are  execrated.  They  are 
regarded,  not  with  indifference,  but  with  passionate 
hatred.  Thousands  and  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
mechanics  in  this  country  abhor  orthodox  Christianity. 
Millions  of  educated  men  hold  in  immeasurable  con 
tempt  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment.  The 
doctrine  of  atonement  is  regarded  as  absurd  by  mill 
ions.  So  with  the  dogma  of  imputed  guilt,  vicarious 
virtue,  and  vicarious  vice.  I  see  that  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Eddy  advises  ministers  not  to  answer  the  arguments 
of  infidels  in  the  pulpit,  and  gives  this  wonderful 
reason  :  That  the  hearers  will  get  more  doubts  from 
the  answer  than  from  reading  the  original  arguments. 
So  the  Rev.  Dr.  Hawkins  admits  that  he  cannot 
defend  Christianity  from  infidel  attacks  without 
creating  more  infidelity.  So  the  Rev.  Dr.  Haynes  ad 
mits  that  he  cannot  answer  the  theories  of  Robertson 


Smith  in  popular  addresses.  The  only  minister 
who  feels  absolutely  safe  on  this  subject,  so  far  as 
his  congregation  is  concerned,  seems  to  be  the  Rev. 
Joseph  Pullman.  He  declares  that  the  young  people 
in  his  church  don't  know  enough  to  have  intelligent 
doubts,  and  that  the  old  people  are  substantially  in 
the  same  condition.  Mr.  Pullman  feels  that  he  is  be 
hind  a  breastwork  so  strong  that  other  defence  is 
unnecessary.  So  the  Rev.  Mr.  Foote  thinks  that 
infidelity  should  never  be  refuted  in  the  pulpit.  I 
admit  that  it  never  has  been  successfully  done,  but  I 
did  not  suppose  so  many  ministers  admitted  the  im 
possibility.  Mr.  Foote  is  opposed  to  all  public  dis 
cussion.  Dr.  Wells  tells  us  that  scientific  atheism 
should  be  ignored  ;  that  it  should  not  be  spoken  of 
in  the  pulpit.  The  Rev,  Dr.  Van  Dyke  has  the  same 
feeling  of  security  enjoyed  by  Dr.  Pullman,  and  he 
declares  that  the  great  majority  of  the  Christian  peo 
ple  of  to-day  know  nothing  about  current  infidel 
theories.  His  idea  is  to  let  them  remain  in  igno- 


ranee  ;  that  it  would  be  dangerous  for  the  Christian 
minister  even  to  state  the  position  of  the  infidel  ; 
that,  after  stating  it,  he  might  not,  even  with  the  help 
of  God,  successfully  combat  the  theory.  These  min 
isters  do  not  agree.  Dr.  Carpenter  accounts  for 
infidelity  by  nicotine  in  the  blood.  It  is  all  smoke. 


He  thinks  the  blood  of  the  human  family  has  de 
teriorated.  He  thinks  that  the  church  is  safe 
because  the  Christians  read.  He  differs  with  his 
brothers  Pullman  and  Van  Dyke.  So  the  Rev. 
George  E.  Reed  believes  that  infidelity  should  be 
discussed  in  the  pulpit.  He  has  more  confidence  in 
his  general  and  in  the  weapons  of  his  warfare  than 
some  of  his  brethren.  His  confidence  may  arise 
from  the  fact  that  he  has  never  had  a  discussion. 
The  Rev.  Dr.  McClelland  thinks  the  remedy  is  to 
stick  by  the  catechism ;  that  there  is  not  now 
enough  of  authority  ;  not  enough  of  the  brute  force  ; 
thinks  that  the  family,  the  church,  and  the  state 
ought  to  use  the  rod  ;  that  the  rod  is  the  salvation 
of  the  world  ;  that  the  rod  is  a  divine  institution  ; 
that  fathers  ought  to  have  it  for  their  children  ; 
that  mothers  ought  to  use  it.  This  is  a  part  of  the 
religion  of  universal  love.  The  man  who  cannot 
raise  children  without  whipping  them  ought  not  to 
have  them.  The  man  who  would  mar  the  flesh  of  a 
boy  or  girl  is  unfit  to  have  the  control  of  a  human 
being.  The  father  who  keeps  a  rod  in  his  house 
keeps  a  relic  of  barbarism  in  his  heart.  There  is 
nothing  reformatory  in  punishment ;  nothing  reform 
atory  in  fear.  Kindness,  guided  by  intelligence,  is 
the  only  reforming  force.  An  appeal  to  brute  force 


is  an  abandonment  of  love  and  reason,  and  puts 
father  and  child  upon  a  savage  equality  ;  the  sav- 
ageness  in  the  heart  of  the  father  prompting  the 
use  of  the  rod  or  club,  produces  a  like  savageness  in 
the  victim.  The  old  idea  that  a  child's  spirit  must 
be  broken  is  infamous.  All  this  is  passing  away, 
however,  with  orthodox  Christianity.  That  children 
are  treated  better  than  formerly  shows  conclusively 
the  increase  of  what  is  called  infidelity.  Infidelity 
has  always  been  a  protest  against  tyranny  in  the 
state,  against  intolerance  in  the  church,  against  bar 
barism  in  the  family.  It  has  always  been  an  appeal 
for  light,  for  justice,  for  universal  kindness  and  ten 

Question.  The  ministers  say,  I  believe,  Colonel, 
that  worldliness  is  the  greatest  foe  to  the  church,  and 
admit  that  it  is  on  the  increase  ? 

Answer.  I  see  that  all  the  ministers  you  have  in 
terviewed  regard  worldliness  as  the  great  enemy  of 
the  church.  What  is  worldliness  ?  I  suppose 
worldliness  consists  in  paying  attention  to  the  affairs 
of  this  world  ;  getting  enjoyment  out  of  this  life  ; 
gratifying  the  senses,  giving  the  ears  music,  the  eyes 
painting  and  sculpture,  the  palate  good  food  ;  culti 
vating  the  imagination  ;  playing  games  of  chance  ; 


adorning  the  person  ;  developing  the  body  ;  enrich 
ing  the  mind  ;  investigating  the  facts  by  which  we 
are  surrounded  ;  building  homes  ;  rocking  cradles  ; 
thinking  ;  working  ;  inventing  ;  buying  ;  selling  ; 
hoping — all  this,  I  suppose,  is  worldliness.  These 
"  worldly  "  people  have  cleared  the  forests,  plowed 
the  land,  built  the  cities,  the  steamships,  the  tele 
graphs,  and  have  produced  all  there  is  of  worth  and 
wonder  in  the  world.  Yet  the  preachers  denounce 
them.  Were  it  not  for  "  worldly "  people  how 
would  the  preachers  get  along  ?  Who  would  build 
the  churches  ?  Who  would  fill  the  contribution 
boxes  and  plates,  and  who  (most  serious  of  all 
questions)  would  pay  the  salaries  ?  It  is  the 
habit  of  the  ministers  to  belittle  men  who  support 
them — to  slander  the  spirit  by  which  they  live.  "  It 
is  as  though  the  mouth  should  tear  the  hand  that 
feeds  it."  The  nobility  of  the  Old  World  hold  the 
honest  workingman  in  contempt,  and  yet  are  so  con 
temptible  themselves  that  they  are  willing  to  live 
upon  his  labor.  And  so  the  minister  pretending  to 
be  spiritual — pretending  to  be  a  spiritual  guide — 
looks  with  contempt  upon  the  men  who  make  it  pos 
sible  for  him  to  live.  It  may  be  said  by  "  worldli 
ness  "  they  only  mean  enjoyment — that  is,  hearing 
music,  going  to  the  theater  and  the  opera,  taking  a 


Sunday  excursion  to  the  silvery  margin  of  the  sea. 
Of  course,  ministers  look  upon  theaters  as  rival 
attractions,  and  most  of  their  hatred  is  born  of  busi 
ness  views.  They  think  people  ought  to  be  driven 
to  church  by  having  all  other  places  closed.  In  my 
judgment  the  theater  has  done  good,  while  the 
church  has  done  harm.  The  drama  never  has  in 
sisted  upon  burning  anybody.  Persecution  is  not 
born  of  the  stage.  On  the  contrary,  upon  the  stage 
have  forever  been  found  impersonations  of  patriot 
ism,  heroism,  courage,  fortitude,  and  justice,  and 
these  impersonations  have  always  been  applauded, 
and  have  been  represented  that  they  might  be  ap 
plauded.  In  the  pulpit, hypocrites  have  been  wor 
shiped  ;  upon  the  stage  they  have  been  held  up  to 
derision  and  execration.  Shakespeare  has  done  far 
more  for  the  world  than  the  Bible.  The  ministers 
keep  talking  about  spirituality  as  opposed  to  world- 
liness.  Nothing  can  be  more  absurd  than  this  talk 
of  spirituality.  As  though  readers  of  the  Bible, 
repeaters  of  texts,  and  sayers  of  prayers  were  en 
gaged  in  a  higher  work  than  honest  industry.  Is 
there  anything  higher  than  human  love  ?  A  man  is 
in  love  with  a  girl,  and  he  has  determined  to  work 
for  her  and  to  give  his  life  that  she  may  have  a  life 
of  joy.  Is  there  anything  more  spiritual  than  that 


— anything  higher  ?  They  marry.  He  clears  some 
land.  He  fences  a  field.  He  builds  a  cabin  ;  and 
she,  of  this  hovel,  makes  a  happy  home.  She  plants 
flowers,  puts  a  few  simple  things  of  beauty  upon  the 
walls.  This  is  what  the  preachers  call  "  worldli- 
ness."  Is  there  anything  more  spiritual  ?  In  a  little 
while,  in  this  cabin,  in  this  home,  is  heard  the  drowsy 
rhythm  of  the  cradle's  rock,  while  softly  floats  the 
lullaby  upon  the  twilight  air.  Is  there  anything 
more  spiritual,  is  there  anything  more  infinitely  ten 
der  than  to  see  husband  and  wife  bending,  with 
clasped  hands,  over  a  cradle,  gazing  upon  the  dim 
pled  miracle  of  love  ?  I  say  it  is  spiritual  to  work 
for  those  you  love  ;  spiritual  to  improve  the  phys 
ical  condition  of  mankind — for  he  who  improves  the 
physical  condition  improves  the  mental.  I  believe 
in  the  plowers  instead  of  the  prayers.  I  believe 
in  the  new  firm  of  "  Health  &  Heresy  "  rather  than 
the  old  partnership  of  "  Disease  &  Divinity,"  doing 
business  at  the  old  sign  of  the  "  Skull  &  Cross- 
bones."  Seme  of  the  ministers  that  you  have  inter 
viewed,  or  at  least  one  of  them,  tells  us  the  cure  for 
worldliness.  He  says  that  God  is  sending  fires,  and 
cyclones,  and  things  of  that  character  for  the  pur 
pose  of  making  people  spiritual  ;  of  calling  their 
attention  to  the  fact  that  everything  in  this  world  is 


of  a  transitory  nature.  The  clergy  have  always  had 
great  faith  in  famine,  in  affliction,  in  pestilence. 
They  know  that  a  man  is  a  thousand  times  more  apt 
to  thank  God  for  a  crust  or  a  crumb  than  for  a  ban 
quet.  They  know  that  prosperity  has  the  same 
effect  on  the  average  Christian  that  thick  soup  has, 
according  to  Bumble,  on  the  English  pauper  :  "  It 
makes  'em  impudent."  The  devil  made  a  mistake 
in  not  doubling  Job's  property  instead  of  leaving 
him  a  pauper.  In  prosperity  the  ministers  think 
that  we  forget  death  and  are  too  happy.  In  the 
arms  of  those  we  love,  the  dogma  of  eternal  fire  is 
for  the  moment  forgotten.  According  to  the  minis 
ters,  God  kills  our  children  in  order  that  we  may 
not  forget  him.  They  imagine  that  the  man  who 
goes  into  Dakota,  cultivates  the  soil  and  rears  him 
a  little  home,  is  getting  too  "  worldly."  And  so  God 
starts  a  cyclone  to  scatter  his  home  and  the  limbs 
of  wife  and  children  upon  the  desolate  plains,  and 
the  ministers  in  Brooklyn  say  this  is  done  because 
we  are  getting  too  "  worldly."  They  think  we  should 
be  more  "  spiritual ;  "  that  is  to  say,  willing  to  live 
upon  the  labor  of  others  ;  willing  to  ask  alms,  say 
ing,  in  the  meantime,  "  It  is  more  blessed  to  give 
than  to  receive."  If  this  is  so,  why  not  give  the 
money  back  ?  "  Spiritual  "  people  are  those  who 


eat  oatmeal  and  prunes,  have  great  confidence  in 
dried  apples,  read  Cowper's  "  Task  "  and  Pollok's 
"  Course  of  Time,"  laugh  at  the  jokes  in  Harper  s 
Monthly,  wear  clothes  shiny  at  the  knees  and  elbows, 
and  call  all  that  has  elevated  the  world  "  beggarly 

Question.  Some  of  the  clergymen  who  have  been 
interviewed  admit  that  the  rich  and  poor  no  longer 
meet  together,  and  deprecate  the  establishment  of 
mission  chapels  in  connection  with  the  large  and 
fashionable  churches. 

Answer.  The  early  Christians  supposed  that  the 
end  of  the  world  was  at  hand.  They  were  all  sitting 
on  the  dock  waiting  for  the  ship.  In  the  presence  of 
such  a  belief  what  are  known  as  class  distinctions 
could  not  easily  exist.  Most  of  them  were  exceed 
ingly  poor,  and  poverty  is  a  bond  of  union.  As  a 
rule,  people  are  hospitable  in  the  proportion  that  they 
lack  wealth.  In  old  times,  in  the  West,  a  stranger 
was  always  welcome.  He  took  in  part  the  place 
of  the  newspaper.  He  was  a  messenger  from  the 
older  parts  of  the  country.  Life  was  monotonous. 
The  appearance  of  the  traveler  gave  variety.  As 
people  grow  wealthy  they  grow  exclusive.  As  they 
become  educated  there  is  a  tendency  to  pick  their 


society.  It  is  the  same  in  the  church.  The  church 
no  longer  believes  the  creed,  no  longer  acts  as  though 
the  creed  were  true.  If  the  rich  man  regarded  the 
sermon  as  a  means  of  grace,  as  a  kind  of  rope 
thrown  by  the  minister  to  a  man  just  above  the  falls  ; 
if  he  regarded  it  as  a  lifeboat,  or  as  a  lighthouse, 
he  would  not  allow  his  coachman  to  remain  outside. 
If  he  really  believed  that  the  coachman  had  an  im 
mortal  soul,  capable  of  eternal  joy,  liable  to  ever 
lasting  pain,  he  would  do  his  utmost  to  make  the 
calling  and  election  of  the  said  coachman  sure.  As 
a  matter  of  fact  the  rich  man  now  cares  but  little 
for  servants.  They  are  not  included  in  the  scheme 
of  salvation,  except  as  a  kind  of  job  lot.  The 
church  has  become  a  club.  It  is  a  social  affair,  and 
the  rich  do  not  care  to  associate  in  the  week  days 
with  the  poor  they  may  happen  to  meet  at  church. 
As  they  expect  to  be  in  heaven  together  forever, 
they  can  afford  to  be  separated  here.  There  will 
Certainly  be  time  enough  there  to  get  acquainted. 
Another  thing  is  the  magnificence  of  the  churches. 
The  church  depends  absolutely  upon  the  rich.  Poor 
people  feel  out  of  place  in  such  magnificent  build 
ings.  They  drop  into  the  nearest  seat ;  like  poor 
relations,  they  sit  on  the  extreme  edge  of  the  chair. 
At  the  table  of  Christ  they  are  below  the  salt. 


They  are  constantly  humiliated.  When  subscrip 
tions  are  asked  for  they  feel  ashamed  to  have  their 
mite  compared  with  the  thousands  given  by  the 
millionaire.  The  pennies  feel  ashamed  to  mingle 
with  the  silver  in  the  contribution  plate.  The  re 
sult  is  that  most  of  them  avoid  the  church.  It  costs 
too  much  to  worship  God  in  public.  Good  clothes 
are  necessary,  fashionably  cut.  The  poor  come  in 
contact  with  too  much  silk,  too  many  jewels,  too 
many  evidences  of  what  is  generally  assumed  to  be 

Question.  Would  this  state  of  affairs  be  remedied 
if,  instead  of  churches,  we  had  societies  of  ethical 
culture?  Would  not  the  rich  there  predominate 
and  the  poor  be  just  as  much  out  of  place  ? 

Answer.  I  think  the  effect  would  be  precisely  the 
same,  no  matter  what  the  society  is,  what  object  it 
has,  if  composed  of  rich  and  poor.  Class  distinctions, 
to  a  greater  or  less  extent,  will  creep  in — in  fact, 
they  do  not  have  to  creep  in.  They  are  there  at  the 
commencement,  and  they  are  born  of  the  different 
conditions  of  the  members. 

These  class  distinctions  are  not  always  made  by 
men  of  wealth.  For  instance,  some  men  obtain 
money,  and  are  what  we  call  snobs.  Others  obtain 


it  and  retain  their  democratic  principles,  and  meet 
men  according  to  the  law  of  affinity,  or  general  in 
telligence,  on  intellectual  grounds,  for  instance. 

There  is  not  only  the  distinction  produced  by 
wealth  and  power,  but  there  are  the  distinctions 
born  of  intelligence,  of  culture,  of  character,  of  end, 
object,  aim  in  life.  No  one  can  blame  an  honest 
mechanic  for  holding  a  wealthy  snob  in  utter  con 
tempt.  Neither  can  any  one  blame  respectable  pov 
erty  for  declining  to  associate  with  arrogant  wealth. 
The  right  to  make  the  distinction  is  with  all  classes, 
and  with  the  individuals  of  all  classes.  It  is  impos 
sible  to  have  any  society  for  any  purpose — that  is, 
where  they  meet  together — without  certain  embar 
rassments  being  produced  by  these  distinctions. 
Nowt  for  instance,  suppose  there  should  be  a  society 
simply  of  intelligent  and  cultured  people.  There, 
wealth,  to  a  great  degree,  would  be  disregarded. 
But,  after  all,  the  distinction  that  intelligence  draws 
between  talent  and  genius  is  as  marked  and  cruel  as 
was  ever  drawn  between  poverty  and  wealth.  Wher 
ever  the  accomplishment  of  some  object  is  deemed 
of  such  vast  importance  that,  for  the  moment,  all 
minor  distinctions  are  forgotten,  then  it  is  possible 
for  the  rich  and  poor,  the  ignorant  and  intelligent, 
to  act  in  concert.  This  happens  in  political  parties, 


in  time  of  war,  and  it  has  also  happened  whenever  a 
new  religion  has  been  founded.  Whenever  the  rich 
wish  the  assistance  of  the  poor,  distinctions  are  for 
gotten.  It  is  upon  the  same  principle  that  we  gave 
liberty  to  the  slave  during  the  Civil  war,  and  clad 
him  in  the  uniform  of  the  nation  ;  we  wanted  him, 
we  needed  him  ;  and,  for  the  time,  we  were  perfectly 
willing  to  forget  the  distinction  of  color.  Common 
peril  produces  pure  democracy.  It  is  with  societies 
as  with  individuals.  A  poor  young  man  coming  to 
New  York,  bent  upon  making  his  fortune,  begins  to 
talk  about  the  old  fogies  ;  holds  in  contempt  many 
of  the  rules  and  regulations  of  the  trade  ;  is  loud  in 
his  denunciation  of  monopoly  ;  wants  competition ; 
shouts  for  fair  play,  and  is  a  real  democrat.  But 
let  him  succeed ;  let  him  have  a  palace  in  Fifth 
Avenue,  with  his  monogram  on  spoons  and  coaches  ; 
then,  instead  of  shouting  for  liberty,  he  will  call  for 
more  police.  He  will  then  say  :  "  We  want  protec 
tion  ;  the  rabble  must  be  put  down."  We  have  an 
aristocracy  of  wealth.  In  some  parts  of  our  country 
an  aristocracy  of  literature — men  and  women  who 
imagine  themselves  writers  and  who  hold  in  contempt 
all  people  who  cannot  express  commonplaces  in  the 
most  elegant  diction — people  who  look  upon  a  mis 
take  in  grammar  as  far  worse  than  a  crime.  So,  in 


some  communities  we  have  an  aristocracy  of  muscle. 
The  only  true  aristocracy,  probably,  is  that  of  kind 
ness.  Intellect,  without  heart,  is  infinitely  cruel ; 
as  cruel  as  wealth  without  a  sense  of  justice  ;  as 
cruel  as  muscle  without  mercy.  So  that,  after  all, 
the  real  aristocracy  must  be  that  of  goodness  where 
the  intellect  is  directed  by  the  heart. 

Question.  You  say  that  the  aristocracy  of  intellect 
is  quite  as  cruel  as  the  aristocracy  of  wealth — what 
do  you  mean  by  that  ? 

Answer.  By  intellect,  I  mean  simply  intellect ; 
that  is  to  say,  the  aristocracy  of  education — of  sim 
ple  brain — expressed  in  innumerable  ways — in  in 
vention,  painting,  sculpture,  literature.  And  I  meant 
to  say  that  that  aristocracy  was  as  cruel  as  that  of 
simple  arrogant  wealth.  After  all,  why  should  a  man 
be  proud  of  something  given  him  by  nature — some 
thing  that  he  did  not  earn,  did  not  produce — some 
thing  that  he  could  not  help  ?  Is  it  not  more  rea 
sonable  to  be  proud  of  wealth  which  you  have 
accumulated  than  of  brain  which  nature  gave  you  ? 
And,  to  carry  this  idea  clearly  out,  why  should  we  be 
proud  of  anything  ?  Is  there  any  proper  occasion 
on  which  to  crow  ?  If  you  succeed,  your  success 
crows  for  you  ;  if  you  fail,  certainly  crowing  is  not  in 


the  best  of  taste.  And  why  should  a  man  be  proud 
of  brain  ?  Why  should  he  be  proud  of  disposition  or 
of  good  acts  ? 

Question.  You  speak  of  the  cruelty  of  the  intel 
lect,  and  yet,  of  course,  you  must  recognize  the  right 
of  every  one  to  select  his  own  companions.  Would 
it  be  arrogant  for  the  intellectual  man  to  prefer  the 
companionship  of  people  of  his  own  class  in  preference 
to  commonplace  and  unintelligent  persons  ? 

Answer.  All  men  should  have  the  same  rights, 
and  one  right  that  every  man  should  have  is  to  as 
sociate  with  congenial  people.  There  are  thousands 
of  good  men  whose  society  I  do  not  covet.  They 
may  be  stupid,  or  they  may  be  stupid  only  in  the 
direction  in  which  I  am  interested,  and  may  be  ex 
ceedingly  intelligent  as  to  matters  about  which  I 
care  nothing.  In  either  case  they  are  not  congenial. 
They  have  the  right  to  select  congenial  company ; 
so  have  I.  And  while  distinctions  are  thus  made, 
they  are  not  cruel ;  they  are  not  heartless.  They 
are  for  the  good  of  all  concerned,  spring  naturally 
from  the  circumstances,  and  are  consistent  with  the 
highest  philanthropy.  Why  we  notice  these  dis 
tinctions  in  the  church  more  than  we  do  in  the  club 
is  that  the  church  talks  one  way  and  acts  another ;  be- 


cause  the  church  insists  that  a  certain  line  of  conduct 
is  essential  to  salvation,  and  that  every  human  being 
is  in  danger  of  eternal  pain.  If  the  creed  were 
true,  then,  in  the  presence  of  such  an  infinite  verity, 
all  earthly  distinctions  should  instantly  vanish.  Every 
Christian  should  exert  himself  for  the  salvation  of 
the  soul  of  a  beggar  with  the  same  degree  of  earnest 
ness  that  he  would  show  to  save  a  king.  The  acci 
dents  of  wealth,  education,  social  position,  should  be 
esteemed  as  naught,  and  the  richest  should  gladly 
work  side  by  side  with  the  poorest.  The  churches 
will  never  reach  the  poor  as  long  as  they  sell  pews  ; 
as  long  as  the  rich  members  wear  their  best  clothes 
on  Sunday.  As  long  as  the  fashions  of  the  drawing- 
room  are  taken  to  the  table  of  the  last  supper,  the 
poor  will  remain  in  the  highways  and  hedges. 
Present  fashion  is  more  powerful  than  faith.  So 
long  as  the  ministers  shut  up  their  churches,  and 
allow  the  poor  to  go  to  hell  in  summer  ;  as  long  as 
they  leave  the  devil  without  a  competitor  for  three 
months  in  the  year,  the  churches  will  not  materially 
impede  the  march  of  human  progress.  People  often, 
unconsciously  and  without  any  malice,  say  something 
or  do  something  that  throws  an  unexpected  light 
upon  a  question.  The  other  day,  in  one  of  the  New 
York  comic  papers,  there  was  a  picture  representing 


the  foremost  preachers  of  the  country  at  the  seaside 
together.  It  was  regarded  as  a  joke  that  they  could 
enjoy  each  other's  society.  These  ministers  are 
supposed  to  be  the  apostles  of  the  religion  of  kind 
ness.  They  tell  us  to  love  even  our  enemies,  and 
yet  the  idea  that  they  could  associate  happily  to 
gether  is  regarded  as  a  joke !  After  all,  churches 
are  like  other  institutions,  they  have  to  be  managed, 
and  they  now  rely  upon  music  and  upon  elocution 
rather  than  upon  the  gospel.  They  are  becoming 
social  affairs.  They  are  giving  up  the  doctrine  of 
eternal  punishment,  and  have  consequently  lost 
their  hold.  The  orthodox  churches  used  to  tell 
us  tiiere  was  to  be  a  fire,  and  they  offered  to  insure  ; 
and  as  long  as  the  fire  was  expected  the  premiums 
were  paid  and  the  policies  were  issued.  Then  came 
the  Universalist  Church,  saying  that  there  would 
be  no  fire,  and  yet  asking  the  people  to  insure.  For 
such  a  church  there  is  no  basis.  It  undoubtedly 
did  good  by  its  influence  upon  other  churches.  So 
with  the  Unitarian.  That  church  has  no  basis 
for  organization ;  no  reason,  because  no  hell  is 
threatened,  and  heaven  is  but  faintly  promised. 
Just  as  the  churches  have  lost  their  belief  in  eternal 
fire,  they  have  lost  their  influence,  and  the  reason 
they  have  lost  their  belief  is  on  account  of  the 


diffusion  of  knowledge.  That  doctrine  is  becom 
ing  absurd  and  infamous.  Intelligent  people  are 
ashamed  to  broach  it.  Intelligent  people  can  no 
longer  believe  it.  It  is  regarded  with  horror,  and 
the  churches  must  finally  abandon  it,  and  when  they 
do,  that  is  the  end  of  the  church  militant. 

Question.  What  do  you  say  to  the  progress  of  the 
Roman  Catholic  Church,  in  view  of  the  fact  that  they 
have  not  changed  their  belief,  in  any  particular,  in 
regard  to  future  punishment  ? 

Answer.  Neither  Catholicism  nor  Protestantism 
will  ever  win  another  battle.  The  last  victory  of 
Protestantism  was  won  in  Holland.  Nations  have 
not  been  converted  since  then.  The  time  has  passed 
to  preach  with  sword  and  gun,  and  for  that  reason 
Catholicism  can  win  no  more  victories.  That  church 
increases  in  this  country  mostly  from  immigration. 
Catholicism  does  not  belong  to  the  New  World.  It 
s  at  war  with  the  idea  of  our  Government,  antago 
nistic  to  true  republicanism,  and  is  in  every  sense 
anti-American.  The  Catholic  Church  does  not  con 
trol  its  members.  That  church  prevents  no  crime. 
It  is  not  in  favor  of  education.  It  is  not  the  friend 
of  liberty.  In  Europe  it  is  now  used  as  a  political 
power,  but  here  it  dare  not  assert  itself.  There  are 


thousands  of  good  Catholics.  As  a  rule  they  prob 
ably  believe  the  creed  of  the  church.  That  church 
has  lost  the  power  to  anathematize.  It  can  no 
longer  burn.  It  must  now  depend  upon  other  forces 
— upon  persuasion,  sophistry,  ignorance,  fear,  and 

Question.  You  have  stated  your  objections  to 
the  churches,  what  would  you  have  to  take  their 
place  ? 

Answer.  There  was  a  time  when  men  had  to 
meet  together  for  the  purpose  of  being  told  the  law. 
This  was  before  printing,  and  for  hundreds  and  hun 
dreds  of  years  most  people  depended  for  their  in 
formation  on  what  they  heard.  The  ear  was  the 
avenue  to  the  brain.  There  was  a  time,  of  course, 
when  Freemasonry  was  necessary,  so  that  a  man 
could  carry,  not  only  all  over  his  own  country,  but  to 
another,  a  certificate  that  he  was  a  gentleman  ;  that 
he  was  an  honest  man.  There  was  a  time,  and  it  was 
necessary,  for  the  people  to  assemble.  They  had  no 
books,  no  papers,  no  way  of  reaching  each  other. 
But  now  all  that  is  changed.  The  daily  press  gives 
you  the  happenings  of  the  world.  The  libraries 
give  you  the  thoughts  of  the  greatest  and  best. 
Every  man  of  moderate  means  can  command  the 


principal  sources  of  information.  There  is  no  ne 
cessity  for  going  to  the  church  and  hearing  the  same 
story  forever.  Let  the  minister  write  what  he 
wishes  to  say.  Let  him  publish  it.  If  it  is  worth 
buying,  people  will  read  it.  It  is  hardly  fair  to  get 
them  in  a  church  in  the  name  of  duty  and  there  in 
flict  upon  them  a  sermon  that  under  no  circum 
stances  they  would  read.  Of  course,  there  will 
always  be  meetings,  occasions  when  people  come 
together  to  exchange  ideas,  to  hear  what  a  man  has 
to  say  upon  some  questions,  but  the  idea  of  going 
fifty-two  days  in  a  year  to  hear  anybody  on  the  same 
subject  is  absurd. 

Question.  Would  you  include  a  man  like  Henry 
Ward  Beecher  in  that  statement  ? 

Answer.  Beecher  is  interesting  just  in  proportion 
that  he  is  not  orthodox,  and  he  is  altogether  more 
interesting  when  talking  against  his  creed.  He  de 
livered  a  sermon  the  other  day  in  Chicago,  in  which 
he  takes  the  ground  that  Christianity  is  kindness, 
and  that,  consequently,  no  one  could  be  an  infidel. 
Every  one  believes  in  kindness,  at  least  theoretically. 
In  that  sermon  he  throws  away  all  creed,  and  comes 
to  the  conclusion  that  Christianity  is  a  life,  not  an 
aggregation  of  intellectual  convictions  upon  certain 


subjects.  The  more  sermons  like  that  are  preached, 
probably  the  better.  What  I  intended  was  the 
eternal  repetition  of  the  old  story  :  That  God  made 
the  world  and  a  man,  and  then  allowed  the  devil  to 
tempt  him,  and  then  thought  of  a  scheme  of  salva 
tion,  of  vicarious  atonement,  1500  years  afterwards  ; 
drowned  everybody  except  Noah  and  his  family, 
and  afterward,  when  he  failed  to  civilize  the  Jewish 
people,  came  in  person  and  suffered  death,  and 
announced  the  doctrine  that  all  who  believed  on 
him  would  be  saved,  and  those  who  did  not,  eter 
nally  lost.  Now,  this  story,  with  occasional  refer 
ences  to  the  patriarchs  and  the  New  Jerusalem,  and 
the  exceeding  heat  of  perdition,  and  the  wonderful 
joys  of  Paradise,  is  the  average  sermon,  and  this 
story  is  told  again,  again,  and  again,  by  the  same 
men,  listened  to  by  the  same  people  without  any 
effect  except  to  tire  the  speaker  and  the  hearer.  If 
all  the  ministers  would  take  their  texts  from  Shakes 
peare  ;  if  they  would  read  every  Sunday  a  selection 
from  some  of  the  great  plays,  the  result  would  be 
infinitely  better.  They  would  all  learn  something  ; 
the  mind  would  be  enlarged,  and  the  sermon  would 
appear  short.  Nothing  has  shown  more  clearly  the 
intellectual  barrenness  of  the  pulpit  than  baccalau 
reate  sermons  lately  delivered.  The  dignified  dull- 


ness,  the  solemn  stupidity  of  these  addresses  has 
never  been  excelled.  No  question  was  met.  The 
poor  candidates  for  the  ministry  were  given  no  new 
weapons.  Armed  with  the  theological  flintlock  of 
a  century  ago,  they  were  ordered  to  do  battle  for 
doctrines  older  than  their  weapons.  They  were  told 
to  rely  on  prayer,  to  answer  all  arguments  by  keep 
ing  out  of  discussions,  and  to  overwhelm  the  skeptic 
by  ignoring  the  facts.  There  was  a  time  when  the 
Protestant  clergy  were  in  favor  of  education  ;  that  is 
to  say,  education  enough  to  make  a  Catholic  a  Prot 
estant,  but  not  enough  to  make  a  Protestant  a  phi 
losopher.  The  Catholics  are  also  in  favor  of  educa 
tion  enough  to  make  a  savage  a  Catholic,  and  there 
they  stop.  The  Christian  should  never  unsettle  his 
belief.  If  he  studies,  if  he  reads,  he  is  in  danger. 
A  new  idea  is  a  doubt ;  a  doubt  is  the  threshold  of 
infidelity.  The  young  ministers  are  warned  against 
inquiry.  They  are  educated  like  robins ;  they 
swallow  whatever  is  thrown  in  the  mouth,  worms  or 
shingle-nails,  it  makes  no  difference,  and  they  are 
expected  to  get  their  revenge  by  treating  their  flocks 
precisely  as  the  professors  treated  them.  The  creeds 
of  the  churches  are  being  laughed  at.  Thousands 
of  young  men  say  nothing,  because  they  do  not  wish 
to  hurt  the  feelings  of  mothers  and  maiden  aunts. 


Thousands  of  business  men  say  nothing,  for  fear  it 
may  interfere  with  trade.  Politicians  keep  quiet  for 
fear  of  losing  influence.  But  when  you  get  at  the 
real  opinions  of  people,  a  vast  majority  have  out 
grown  the  doctrines  of  orthodox  Christianity.  Some 
people  think  these  things  good  for  women  and  chil 
dren,  and  use  the  Lord  as  an  immense  policeman  to 
keep  order.  Every  day  ministers  are  uttering  a 
declaration  of  independence.  They  are  being  ex 
amined  by  synods  and  committees  of  ministers,  and 
they  are  beginning  everywhere  to  say  that  they  do 
not  regard  this  life  as  a  probationary  stage  ;  that 
the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  is  too  bad ; 
that  the  Bible  is,  in  many  things,  foolish,  absurd, 
and  infamous  ;  that  it  must  have  been  written  by 
men.  And  the  people  at  large  are  beginning  to  find 
that  the  ministers  have  kept  back  the  facts  ;  have 
not  told  the  history  of  the  Bible  ;  have  not  given 
to  their  congregations  the  latest  advices,  and  so  the 
feeling  is  becoming  almost  general  that  orthodox 
Christianity  has  outlived  its  usefulness.  The  church 
has  a  great  deal  to  contend  with.  The  scientific 
men  are  not  religious.  Geology  laughs  at  Genesis, 
and  astronomy  has  concluded  that  Joshua  knew 
but  very  little  of  the  motions  of  heavenly  bodies. 
Statesmen  do  not  approve  of  the  laws  of  Moses ; 


the  intellect  of  the  world  is  on  the  other  side. 
There  is  something  besides  preaching  on  Sunday. 
The  newspaper  is  the  rival  of  the  pulpit.  Nearly 
all  the  cars  are  running  on  that  blessed  day. 
Steamers  take  hundreds  of  thousands  of  excursion 
ists.  The  man  who  has  been  at  work  all  the  week 
seeks  the  sight  of  the  sea,  and  this  has  become  so 
universal  that  the  preacher  is  following  his  example. 
The  flock  has  ceased  to  be  afraid  of  the  wolf,  and 
the  shepherd  deserts  the  sheep.  In  a  little  while 
all  the  libraries  will  be  open — all  the  museums. 
There  will  be  music  in  the  public  parks  ;  the  opera, 
the  theater.  And  what  will  churches  do  then  ?  The 
cardinal  points  will  be  demonstrated  to  empty  pews, 
unless  the  church  is  wise  enough  to  meet  the  intel 
lectual  demands  of  the  present. 

Question.  You  speak  as  if  the  influences  working 
against  Christianity  to-day  will  tend  to  crush  it  out 
of  existence.  Do  you  think  that  Christianity  is  any 
worse  off  now  than  it  was  during  the  French  Revolu 
tion,  when  the  priests  were  banished  from  the 
country  and  reason  was  worshiped ;  or  in  England, 
a  hundred  years  ago,  when  Hume,  Bolingbroke,  and 
others  made  their  attacks  upon  it  ? 

Answer.     You  must   remember  that  the  French 


Revolution  was  produced  by  Catholicism  ;  that  it  was 
a  reaction  ;  that  it  went  to  infinite  extremes  ;  that  it 
was  a  revolution  seeking  revenge.  It  is  not  hard  to 
understand  those  times,  provided  you  know  the  his 
tory  of  the  Catholic  Church.  The  seeds  of  the  French 
Revolution  were  sown  by  priests  and  kings.  The 
people  had  suffered  the  miseries  of  slavery  for  a 
thousand  years,  and  the  French  Revolution  came 
because  human  nature  could  bear  the  wrongs  no 
longer.  It  was  something  not  reasoned  ;  it  was  felt. 
Only  a  few  acted  from  intellectual  convictions.  The 
most  were  stung  to  madness,  and  were  carried  away 
with  the  desire  to  destroy.  They  wanted  to  shed 
blood,  to  tear  down  palaces,  to  cut  throats,  and  in 
some  way  avenge  the  wrongs  of  all  the  centuries. 
Catholicism  has  never  recovered — it  never  will. 
The  dagger  of  Voltaire  struck  the  heart ;  the  wound 
was  mortal.  Catholicism  has  staggered  from  that 
day  to  this. 

It  has  been  losing  power  every  moment.  At  the 
death  of  Voltaire  there  were  twenty  millions  less 
Catholics  than  when  he  was  born.  In  the  French 
Revolution  muscle  outran  mind  ;  revenge  anticipated 
reason.  There  was  destruction  without  the  genius 
of  construction.  They  had  to  use  materials  that  had 
been  rendered  worthless  by  ages  of  Catholicism. 


The  French  Revolution  was  a  failure  because  the 
French  people  were  a  failure,  and  the  French  people 
were  a  failure  because  Catholicism  had  made  them 
so.  The  ministers  attack  Voltaire  without  reading 
him.  Probably  there  are  not  a  dozen  orthodox  min 
isters  in  the  world  who  have  read  the  works  of  Vol 
taire.  I  know  of  no  one  who  has.  Only  a  little 
while  ago,  a  minister  told  me  he  had  read  Voltaire. 
I  offered  him  one  hundred  dollars  to  repeat  a  para 
graph,  or  to  give  the  title,  even,  of  one  of  Voltaire's 
volumes.  Most  ministers  think  he  was  an  atheist. 
The  trouble  with  the  infidels  in  England  a  hundred 
years  ago  was  that  they  did  not  go  far  enough.  It 
may  be  that  they  could  not  have  gone  further  and 
been  allowed  to  live.  Most  of  them  took  the  ground 
that  there  was  an  infinite,  all-wise,  beneficent  God, 
creator  of  the  universe,  and  that  this  all-wise,  benefi 
cent  God  certainly  was  too  good  to  be  the  author 
of  the  Bible.  They,  however,  insisted  that  this 
good  God  was  the  author  of  nature,  and  the  theo 
logians  completely  turned  the  tables  by  showing 
that  this  god  of  nature  was  in  the  pestilence  and 
plague  business,  manufactured  earthquakes,  over 
whelmed  towns  and  cities,  and  was,  of  necessity, 
the  author  of  all  pain  and  agony.  In  my  judgment, 
the  Deists  were  all  successfully  answered.  The  god 


of  nature  is  certainly  as  bad  as  the  God  of  the  Old 
Testament.  It  is  only  when  we  discard  the  idea  of 
a  deity,  the  idea  of  cruelty  or  goodness  in  nature, 
that  we  are  able  ever  to  bear  with  patience  the  ills 
of  life.  I  feel  that  I  am  neither  a  favorite  nor  a 
victim.  Nature  neither  loves  nor  hates  me.  I  do 
not  believe  in  the  existence  of  any  personal  god.  I 
regard  the  universe  as  the  one  fact,  as  the  one  exist 
ence — that  is,  as  the  absolute  thing.  I  am  a  part 
of  this.  I  do  not  say  that  there  is  no  God  ;  I  simply 
say  that  I  do  not  believe  there  is.  There  may  be 
millions  of  them.  Neither  do  I  say  that  man  is  not 
immortal.  Upon  that  point  I  admit  that  I  do  not 
know,  and  the  declarations  of  all  the  priests  in  the 
world  upon  that  subject  give  me  no  light,  and  do 
not  even  tend  to  add  to  my  information  on  the  sub 
ject,  because  I  know  that  they  know  that  they  do  not 
know.  The  infidelity  of  a  hundred  years  ago  knew 
nothing,  comparatively  speaking,  of  geology  ;  noth 
ing  of  astronomy  ;  nothing  of  the  ideas  of  Lamarck 
and  Darwin  ;  nothing  of  evolution  ;  nothing,  com 
paratively  speaking,  of  other  religions  ;  nothing  of 
India,  that  womb  of  metaphysics  ;  in  other  words, 
the  infidels  of  a  hundred  years  ago  knew  the  creed 
of  orthodox  Christianity  to  be  false,  but  had  not  the 
facts  to  demonstrate  it.  The  infidels  of  to-day  have 


the  facts  ;  that  is  the  difference.  A  hundred  years 
ago  it  was  a  guessing  prophecy  ;  to-day  it  is  the  fact 
and  fulfillment.  Everything  in  nature  is  working 
against  superstition  to-day.  Superstition  is  like  a 
thorn  in  the  flesh,  and  everything,  from  dust  to  stars, 
is  working  together  to  destroy  the  false.  The  small 
est  pebble  answers  the  greatest  parson.  One  blade 
of  grass,  rightly  understood,  destroys  the  orthodox 

Question.  You  say  that  the  pews  will  be  empty 
in  the  future  unless  the  church  meets  the  intellectual 
demands  of  the  present.  Are  not  the  ministers  of 
to-day,  generally  speaking,  much  more  intellectual 
than  those  of  a  hundred  years  ago,  and  are  not  the 
"  liberal "  views  in  regard  to  the  inspiration  of  the 
Bible,  the  atonement,  future  punishment,  the  fall  of 
man,  and  the  personal  divinity  of  Christ  which  openly 
prevail  in  many  churches,  an  indication  that  the 
church  is  meeting  the  demands  of  many  people  who 
do  not  care  to  be  classed  as  out-and-out  disbelievers 
in  Christianity,  but  who  have  advanced  views  on 
those  and  other  questions  ? 

Answer.  As  to  the  first  part  of  this  question,  I  do 
not  think  the  ministers  of  to-day  are  more  intellectual 
than  they  were  a  hundred  years  ago  ;  that  is,  I  do 


not  think  they  have  greater  brain  capacity,  but  I  think 
on  the  average,  the  congregations  have  a  higher 
amount.  The  amelioration  of  orthodox  Christianity 
is  not  by  the  intelligence  in  the  pulpit,  but  by  the 
brain  in  the  pews.  Another  thing  :  One  hundred 
years  ago  the  church  had  intellectual  honors  to  be 
stow.  The  pulpit  opened  a  career.  Not  so  now. 
There  are  too  many  avenues  to  distinction  and 
wealth — too  much  worldliness.  The  best  minds 
do  not  go  into  the  pulpit.  Martyrs  had  rather  be 
burned  than  laughed  at.  Most  ministers  of  to-day 
are  not  naturally  adapted  to  other  professions  prom 
ising  eminence.  There  are  some  great  exceptions, 
but  those  exceptions  are  the  ministers  nearest  in 
fidels.  Theodore  Parker  was  a  great  man.  Henry 
Ward  Beecher  is  a  great  man — not  the  most  consist 
ent  man  in  the  world — but  he  is  certainly  a  man 
of  mark,  a  remarkable  genius.  If  he  could  only  get 
rid  of  the  idea  that  Plymouth  Church  is  necessary 
to  him — after  that  time  he  would  not  utter  an  or 
thodox  word.  Chapin  was  a  man  of  mind.  I  might 
mention  some  others,  but,  as  a  rule,  the  pulpit  is  not 
remarkable  for  intelligence.  The  intelligent  men  of 
the  world  do  not  believe  in  orthodox  Christianity.  It 
is  to-day  a  symptom  of  intellectual  decay.  The  con 
servative  ministers  are  the  stupid  ones.  The  con- 


servative  professors  are  those  upon  whose  ideas 
will  be  found  the  centuries'  moss,  old  red  sandstone 
theories,  pre-historic  silurian.  Now,  as  to  the  sec 
ond  part  of  the  question  :  The  views  of  the  church 
are  changing,  the  clergy  of  Brooklyn  to  the  contrary, 
notwithstanding.  Orthodox  religion  is  a  kind  of  boa- 
constrictor  ;  anything  it  can  not  dodge  it  will  swal 
low.  The  church  is  bound  to  have  something  for 
sale  that  somebody  wants  to  buy.  According  to  the 
pew  demand  will  be  the  pulpit  supply.  In  old 
times  the  pulpit  dictated  to  the  pews.  Things  have 
changed.  Theology  is  now  run  on  business  princi 
ples.  The  gentleman  who  pays  for  the  theories  in 
sists  on  having  them  suit  him.  Ministers  are  intel 
lectual  gardeners,  and  they  must  supply  the  market 
with  such  religious  vegetables  as  the  congregations 
desire.  Thousands  have  given  up  belief  in  the  in 
spiration  of  the  Bible,  the  divinity  of  Christ,  the 
atonement  idea  and  original  sin.  Millions  believe 
now,  that  this  is  not  a  state  of  probation  ;  that  a 
man,  provided  he  is  well  off  and  has  given  liberally 
to  the  church,  or  whose  wife  has  been  a  regular  at 
tendant,  will,  in  the  next  world,  have  another  chance  ; 
that  he  will  be  permitted  to  file  a  motion  for  a  new 
trial.  Others  think  that  hell  is  not  as  warm  as  it 
used  to  be  supposed  ;  that,  while  it  is  very  hot  in 


the  middle  of  the  day,  the  nights  are  cool ;  and  that, 
after  all,  there  is  not  so  much  to  fear  from  the  future. 
They  regard  the  old  religion  as  very  good  for  the 
poor,  and  they  give  them  the  old  ideas  on  the  same 
principle  that  they  give  them  their  old  clothes. 
These  ideas,  out  at  the  elbows,  out  at  the  knees, 
buttons  off,  somewhat  raveled,  will,  after  all,  do  very 
well  for  paupers.  There  is  a  great  trade  of  this 
kind  going  on  now — selling  old  theological  clothes 
to  the  colored  people  in  the  South.  All  I  have  said 
applies  to  all  churches.  The  Catholic  Church  changes 
every  day.  It  does  not  change  its  ceremonies  ;  but 
the  spirit  that  begot  the  ceremonies,  the  spirit  that 
clothed  the  skeleton  of  ceremony  with  the  flesh  and 
blood  and  throb  of  life  and  love,  is  gone.  The  spirit 
that  built  the  cathedrals,  the  spirit  that  emptied  the 
wealth  of  the  world  into  the  lap  of  Rome,  has  turned 
in  another  direction.  Of  course,  the  churches  are  all 
going  to  endeavor  to  meet  the  demands  of  the  hour. 
They  will  find  new  readings  for  old  texts.  They 
will  re-punctuate  and  re-parse  the  Old  Testament. 
They  will  find  that  "  flat"  meant  "a  little  rounding ; " 
that  "  six  days  "  meant  "  six  long  times  ;"  that  the 
word  "  flood  "  should  have  been  translated  "  damp 
ness,"  "  dew,"  or  "  threatened  rain  ;"  that  Daniel  in 
the  lion's  den  was  an  historical  myth;  that  Samson 


and  his  foxes  had  nothing  to  do  with  this  world.  All 
these  things  will  be  gradually  explained  and  made  to 
harmonize  with  the  facts  of  modern  science.  They 
will  not  change  the  words  of  the  creed ;  they  will 
simply  give  "  new  meanings  ;"  and  the  highest  criti 
cism  to-day  is  that  which  confesses  and  avoids.  In 
other  words,  the  churches  will  change  as  the  people 
change.  They  will  keep  for  sale  that  which  can  be 
sold.  Already  the  old  goods  are  being  "  marked 
down."  If,  however,  the  church  should  fail,  why 
then  it  must  go.  I  see  no  reason,  myself,  for  its  ex 
istence.  It  apparently  does  no  good ;  it  devours 
without  producing ;  it  eats  without  planting,  and  is  a 
perpetual  burden.  It  teaches  nothing  of  value.  It 
misleads,  mystifies,  and  misrepresents.  It  threatens 
without  knowledge  and  promises  without  power.  In 
my  judgment,  the  quicker  it  goes  the  better  for  all 
mankind.  But  if  it  does  not  go  in  name,  it  must  go 
in  fact,  because  it  must  change  ;  and,  therefore,  it  is 
only  a  question  of  time  when  it  ceases  to  divert  from 
useful  channels  the  blood  and  muscle  of  the  world. 

Question.  You  say  that  in  the  baccalaureate  ser 
mons  delivered  lately  the  theological  students  were 
told  to  answer  arguments  by  keeping  out  of  discus 
sion.  Is  it  not  the  fact  that  ministers  have  of  late  years 


preached  very  largely  on  scientific  disbelief,  agnosti 
cism,  and  infidelity,  so  much  so  as  to  lead  to  their 
being  reprimanded  by  some  of  their  more  conserva 
tive  brethren  ? 

Answer.  Of  course  there  are  hundreds  of  thou 
sands  of  ministers  perpetually  endeavoring  to  answer 
infidelity.  Their  answers  have  done  so  much  harm 
that  the  more  conservative  among  the  clergy  have 
advised  them  to  stop.  Thousands  have  answered 
me,  and  their  answers,  for  the  most  part,  are  like  this  : 
Paine  was  a  blackguard,  therefore  the  geology  of 
Genesis  is  on  a  scientific  basis.  We  know  the  doc 
trine  of  the  atonement  is  true,  because  in  the  French 
Revolution  they  worshiped  reason.  And  we  know, 
too,  all  about  the  fall  of  man  and  the  Garden  of  Eden 
because  Voltaire  was  nearly  frightened  to  death 
when  he  came  to  die.  These  are  the  usual  argu 
ments,  supplemented  by  a  few  words  concerning  my 
self.  And,  in  my  view,  they  are  the  best  that  can 
be  made.  Failing  to  answer  a  man's  argument,  the 
next  best  thing  is  to  attack  his  character.  "  You 
have  no  case,"  said  an  attorney  to  the  plaintiff.  "  No 
matter,"  said  the  plaintiff,  "  I  want  you  to  give  the 
defendant  the  devil." 

Question.     What  have  you  to  say  to  the  Rev.  Dr. 


Baker's  statement  that  he  generally  buys  five  or  six 
tickets  for  your  lectures  and  gives  them  to  young 
men,  who  are  shocked  at  the  flippant  way  in  which 
you  are  said  to  speak  of  the  Bible  ? 

Answer.  Well,  as  to  that,  I  have  always  wondered 
why  I  had  such  immense  audiences  in  Brooklyn  and 
New  York.  This  tends  to  clear  away  the  mystery. 
If  all  the  clergy  follow  the  example  of  Dr.  Baker,  that 
accounts  for  the  number  seeking  admission.  Of 
course,  Dr.  Baker  would  not  misrepresent  a  thing 
like  that,  and  I  shall  always  feel  greatly  indebted  to 
him,  shall  hereafter  regard  him  as  one  of  my  agents, 
and  take  this  occasion  to  return  my  thanks.  He  is 
certainly  welcome  to  all  the  converts  to  Christianity 
made  by  hearing  me.  Still,  I  hardly  think  it  honest 
in  young  men  to  play  a  game  like  that  on  the  doctor. 

Question.  You  speak  of  the  eternal  repetition  of 
the  old  story  of  Christianity  and  say  that  the  more 
sermons  like  the  one  Mr.  Beecher  preached  lately  the 
better.  Is  it  not  the  fact  that  ministers,  at  the  pres 
ent  time,  do  preach  very  largely  on  questions  of  purely 
moral,  social,  and  humanitarian  interest,  so  much  so, 
indeed,  as  to  provoke  criticism  on  the  part  of  the 
secular  newspaper  press  ? 

Answer.     I  admit  that  there  is  a  general  tendency 


in  the  pulpit  to  preach  about  things  happening  in  this 
world ;  in  other  words,  that  the  preachers  them 
selves  are  beginning  to  be  touched  with  worldliness. 
They  find  that  the  New  Jerusalem  has  no  particular 
interest  for  persons  dealing  in  real  estate  in  this 
world.  And  thousands  of  people  are  losing  interest 
in  Abraham,  in  David,  Haggai,  and  take  more  inter 
est  in  gentlemen  who  have  the  cheerful  habit  of 
living.  They  also  find  that  their  readers  do  not 
wish  to  be  reminded  perpetually  of  death  and  coffins 
and  worms  and  dust  and  gravestones  and  shrouds 
and  epitaphs  and  hearses,  biers,  and  cheerful  sub 
jects  of  that  character.  That  they  prefer  to  hear 
the  minister  speak  about  a  topic  in  which  they  have 
a  present  interest,  and  about  which  something  cheer 
ful  can  be  said.  In  fact,  it  is  a  relief  to  hear  about 
politics,  a  little  about  art,  something  about  stocks 
or  the  crops,  and  most  ministers  find  it  necessary  to 
advertise  that  they  are  going  to  speak  on  something 
that  has  happened  within  the  last  eighteen  hundred 
years,  and  that,  for  the  time  being,  Shadrach,  Me- 
shech,  and  Abednego  will  be  left  in  the  furnace.  Of 
course,  I  think  that  most  ministers  are  reasonably 
honest.  Maybe  they  don't  tell  all  their  doubts,  but 
undoubtedly  they  are  endeavoring  to  make  the  world 
better,  and  most  of  the  church  members  think  that 


they  are  doing  the  best  that  can  be  done.  I  am  not 
criticising  their  motives,  but  their  methods.  I  am 
not  attacking  the  character  or  reputation  of  minis 
ters,  but  simply  giving  my  ideas,  avoiding  anything 
personal.  I  do  not  pretend  to  be  very  good,  nor 
very  bad — just  fair  to  middling. 

Question.  You  say  that  Christians  will  not  read 
for  fear  that  they  will  unsettle  their  belief.  Father 
Fransiola  (Roman  Catholic)  said  in  the  interview  I 
had  with  him  :  "  If  you  do  not  allow  man  to  reason 
you  crush  his  manhood.  Therefore,  he  has  to  reason 
upon  the  credibility  of  his  faith,  and  through  reason, 
guided  by  faith,  he  discovers  the  truth,  and  so  satisfies 
his  wants." 

Answer.  Without  calling  in  question  the  perfect 
sincerity  of  Father  Fransiola,  I  think  his  statement 
is  exactly  the  wrong  end  to.  I  do  not  think  that  rea 
son  should  be  guided  by  faith;  I  think  that  faith 
should  be  guided  by  reason.  After  all,  the  highest 
possible  conception  of  faith  would  be  the  science  of 
probabilities,  and  the  probable  must  not  be  based  on 
what  has  not  happened,  but  upon  what  has  ;  not  upon 
something  we  know  nothing  about,  but  the  nature 
of  the  things  with  which  we  are  acquainted.  The 
foundation  we  must  know  something  about,  and 
whenever  we  reason,  we  must  have  something  as  a 


basis,  something1  secular,  something  that  we  think 
we  know.  About  these  facts  we  reason,  sometimes 
by  analogy,  and  we  say  thus  and  so  has  happened, 
therefore  thus  and  so  may  happen.  We  do  not  say 
thus  and  so  may  happen,  therefore  something  else  has 
happened.  We  must  reason  from  the  known  to  the 
unknown,  not  from  the  unknown  to  the  known. 
This  Father  admits  that  if  you  do  not  allow  a  man  to 
reason  you  crush  his  manhood.  At  the  same  time 
he  says  faith  must  govern  reason.  Who  makes  the 
faith?  The  church.  And  the  church  tells  the  man 
that  he  must  take  the  faith,  reason  or  no  reason,  and 
that  he  may  afterward  reason,  taking  the  faith  as 
a  fact.  This  makes  him  an  intellectual  slave,  and 
the  poor  devil  mistakes  for  liberty  the  right  to  ex 
amine  his  own  chains.  These  gentlemen  endeavor 
to  satisfy  their  prisoners  by  insisting  that  there  is 
nothing  beyond  the  walls. 

Question.     You  criticise  the  church  for  not  encour- 


aging  the  poor  to  mingle  with  the  rich,  and  yet  you 
defend  the  right  of  a  man  to  choose  his  own  company. 
Are  not  these  same  distinctions  made  by  non-confess 
ing  Christians  in  real  life,  and  will  not  there  always 
be  some  greater,  richer,  wiser,  than  the  rest  ? 

Answer.     I  do  not  blame  the  church  because  there 


are  these  distinctions  based  on  wealth,  intelligence, 
and  culture.  What  I  blame  the  church  for  is  pre 
tending  to  do  away  with  these  distinctions.  These 
distinctions  in  men  are  inherent ;  differences  in  brain, 
in  race,  in  blood,  in  education,  and  they  are  differences 
that  will  eternally  exist — that  is,  as  long  as  the  hu 
man  race  exists.  Some  will  be  fortunate,  some 
unfortunate,  some  generous,  some  stingy,  some  rich, 
some  poor.  What  I  wish  to  do  away  w:th  is  the 
contempt  and  scorn  and  hatred  existing  between 
rich  and  poor.  I  want  the  democracy  of  kindness — 
what  you  might  call  the  republicanism  of  justice.  I 
do  not  have  to  associate  with  a  man  to  keep  from  rob 
bing  him.  I  can  give  him  his  rights  without  enjoy 
ing  his  company,  and  he  can  give  me  my  rights 
without  inviting  me  to  dinner.  Why  should  not 
poverty  have  rights  ?  And  has  not  honest  poverty 
the  right  to  hold  dishonest  wealth  in  contempt,  and 
will  it  not  do  it,  whether  it  belongs  to  the  same 
church  or  not?  We  cannot  judge  men  by  their 
wealth,  or  by  the  position  they  hold  in  society.  I 
like  every  kind  man  ;  I  hate  every  cruel  one.  I  like 
the  generous,  whether  they  are  poor  or  rich,  ignorant 
or  cultivated.  I  like  men  that  love  their  families, 
that  are  kind  to  their  wives,  gentle  with  their 
children,  no  matter  whether  they  are  millionaires  or 


mendicants.  And  to  me  the  blossom  of  benevolence, 
of  charity,  is  the  fairest  flower,  no  matter  whether  it 
blooms  by  the  side  of  a  hovel,  or  bursts  from  a  vine 
climbing  the  marble  pillar  of  a  palace.  I  respect  no 
man  because  he  is  rich  ;  I  hold  in  contempt  no  man 
because  he  is  poor. 

Question.  Some  of  the  clergymen  say  that  the 
spread  of  infidelity  is  greatly  exaggerated  ;  that  it 
makes  more  noise  and  creates  more  notice  than  con 
servative  Christianity  simply  on  account  of  its  being 
outside  of  the  accepted  line  of  thought. 

Answer.  There  was  a  time  when  an  unbeliever, 
open  and  pronounced,  was  a  wonder.  At  that  time 
the  church  had  great  power ;  it  could  retaliate ;  it  could 
destroy.  The  church  abandoned  the  stake  only  when 
too  many  men  objected  to  being  burned.  At  that 
time  infidelity  was  clad  not  simply  in  novelty,  but 
often  in  fire.  Of  late  years  the  thoughts  of  men 
have  been  turned,  by  virtue  of  modern  discoveries, 
as  the  result  of  countless  influences,  to  an  investi 
gation  of  the  foundation  of  orthodox  religion.  Other 
religions  were  put  in  the  crucible  of  criticism,  and 
nothing  was  found  but  dross.  At  last  it  occurred 
to  the  intelligent  to  examine  our  own  religion,  and 
this  examination  has  excited  great  interest  and  great 
comment.  People  want  to  hear,  and  they  want  to 


hear  because  they  have  already  about  concluded 
themselves  that  the  creeds  are  founded  in  error. 

Thousands  come  to  hear  me  because  they  are  in 
terested  in  the  question,  because  they  want  to  hear 
a  man  say  what  they  think.  They  want  to  hear  their 
own  ideas  from  the  lips  of  another.  The  tide  has 
turned,  and  the  spirit  of  investigation,  the  intelli 
gence,  the  intellectual  courage  of  the  world  is  on 
the  other  side.  A  real  good  old-fashioned  orthodox 
minister  who  believes  the  Thirty-nine  articles  with 
all  his  might,  is  regarded  to-day  as  a  theological 
mummy,  a  kind  of  corpse  acted  upon  by  the  galvanic 
battery  of  faith,  making  strange  motions,  almost  like 
those  of  life — not  quite. 

Question.  How  would  you  convey  moral  instruc 
tion  from  youth  up,  and  what  kind  of  instruction 
would  you  give  ? 

Answer.  I  regard  Christianity  as  a  failure.  Now, 
then,  what  is  Christianity  ?  I  do  not  include  in  the 
word  "  Christianity "  the  average  morality  of  the 
world  or  the  .morality  taught  in  all  systems  of  relig 
ion  ;  that  i.s,  as  distinctive  Christianity.  Christianity 
is  this  :  A  belief  in  the  inspiration  of  the  Scriptures, 
the  atonement,  the  life,  death,  and  resurrection  of 
Christ,  an  eternal  reward  for  the  believers  in  Christ, 
and  eternal  punishment  for  the  rest  of  us.  Now, 


take  from  Christianity  its  miracles,  its  absurdities 
of  the  atonement  and  fall  of  man  and  the  inspira 
tion  of  the  Scriptures,  and  I  have  no  objection  to  it 
as  I  understand  it.  I  believe,  in  the  main,  in  the 
Christianity  which  I  suppose  Christ  taught,  that  is, 
in  kindness,  gentleness,  forgiveness.  I  do  not  be 
lieve  in  loving  enemies  ;  I  have  pretty  hard  work  to 
love  my  friends.  Neither  do  I  believe  in  revenge. 
No  man  can  afford  to  keep  the  viper  of  revenge  in 
his  heart.  But  I  believe  in  justice,  in  self-defence. 
Caristianity — that  is,  the  miraculous  part — must  be 
abandoned.  As  to  morality — morality  is  born,  is 
born  of  the  instinct  of  self-preservation.  If  man 
could  not  suffer,  the  word  "  conscience  "  never  would 
have  passed  his  lips.  Self-preservation  makes  lar 
ceny  a  crime.  Murder  will  be  regarded  as  a  bad 
thing  as  long  as  a  majority  object  to  being  murdered. 
Morality  does  not  come  from  the  clouds  ;  it  is  born 
of  human  want  and  human  experience.  We  need 
no  inspiration,  no  inspired  work.  The  industrious 
man  knows  that  the  idle  has  no  right  to  rob  him  of 
the  product  of  his  labor,  and  the  idle  man  knows 
that  he  has  no  right  to  do  it.  It  is  not  wrong  be 
cause  we  find  it  in  the  Bible,  but  I  presume  it  was 
put  in  the  Bible  because  it  is  wrong.  Then,  you 
find  in  the  Bible  other  things  upheld  that  are  in- 


famous.  And  why  ?  Because  the  writers  of  the 
Bible  were  barbarians,  in  many  things,  and  because 
that  book  is  a  mixture  of  good  and  evil.  I  see  no 
trouble  in  teaching  morality  without  miracle.  I  see 
no  use  of  miracle.  What  can  men  do  with  it? 
Credulity  is  not  a  virtue.  The  credulous  are  not 
necessarily  charitable.  Wonder  is  not  the  mother 
of  wisdom.  I  believe  children  should  be  taught  to 
investigate  and  to  reason  for  themselves,  and  that 
there  are  facts  enough  to  furnish  a  foundation  for 
all  human  virtue.  We  will  take  two  families;  in 
the  one,  the  father  and  mother  are  both  Christians, 
and  they  teach  their  children  their  creed  ;  teach 
them  that  they  are  naturally  totally  depraved  ;  that 
they  can  only  hope  for  happiness  in  a  future  life  by 
pleading  the  virtues  of  another,  and  that  a  certain 
belief  is  necessary  to  salvation  ;  that  God  punishes 
his  children  forever.  Such  a  home  has  a  certain  at 
mosphere.  Take  another  family  ;  the  father  and 
mother  teach  their  children  that  they  should  be 
kind  to  each  other  because  kindness  produces  hap 
piness  ;  that  they  should  be  gentle  ;  that  they  should 
be  just,  because  justice  is  the  mother  of  joy.  And 
suppose  this  father  and  mother  say  to  their  children  : 
"  If  you  are  happy  it  must  be  as  a  result  of  your  own 
actions  ;  if  you  do  wrong  you  must  suffer  the  conse- 


quences.  No  Christ  can  redeem  you  ;  no  savior 
can  suffer  for  you.  You  must  suffer  the  consequences 
of  your  own  misdeeds.  If  you  plant  you  must  reap, 
and  you  must  reap  what  you  plant."  And  suppose 
these  parents  also  say :  "  You  must  find  out  the 
conditions  of  happiness.  You  must  investigate  the 
circumstances  by  which  you  are  surrounded.  You 
must  ascertain  the  nature  and  relation  of  things  so 
that  you  can  act  in  accordance  with  known  facts,  to 
the  end  that  you  may  have  health  and  peace."  In 
such  a  family,  there  would  be  a  certain  atmosphere, 
in  my  judgment,  a  thousand  times  better  and  purer 
and  sweeter  than  in  the  other.  The  church  gener 
ally  teaches  that  rascality  pays  in  this  world,  but  not 
in  the  next ;  that  here  virtue  is  a  losing  game,  but 
the  dividends  will  be  large  in  another  world.  They 
tell  the  people  that  they  must  serve  God  on  credit, 
but  the  devil  pays  cash  here.  That  is  not  my  doc 
trine.  My  doctrine  is  that  a  thing  is  right  because 
it  pays,  in  the  highest  sense.  That  is  the  reason  it 
is  right.  The  reason  a  thing  is  wrong  is  because  it 
is  the  mother  of  misery.  Virtue  has  its  reward  here 
and  now.  It  means  health  ;  it  means  intelligence, 
contentment,  success.  Vice  means  exactly  the  op 
posite.  Most  of  us  have  more  passion  than  judg 
ment,  carry  more  sail  than  ballast,  and  by  the  temp- 


est  of  passion  we  are  blown  from  port,  we  are 
wrecked  and  lost.  We  cannot  be  saved  by  faith 
or  by  belief.  It  is  a  slower  process  :  We  must  be 
saved  by  knowledge,  by  intelligence — the  only  lever 
capable  of  raising  mankind. 

Question.  The  shorter  catechism,  Colonel,  you 
may  remember  says  "  that  man's  chief  end  is  to 
glorify  God  and  enjoy  him  forever."  What  is  your 
idea  of  the  chief  end  of  man  ? 

Answer.  It  has  always  seemed  a  little  curious  to 
me  that  joy  should  be  held  in  such  contempt  here, 
and  yet  promised  hereafter  as  an  eternal  reward. 
Why  not  be  happy  here,  as  well  as  in  heaven.  Why 
not  have  joy  here  ?  Why  not  go  to  heaven  now — 
that  is,  to-day  ?  Why  not  enjoy  the  sunshine  of  this 
world,  and  all  there  is  of  good  in  it  ?  It  is  bad 
enough  ;  so  bad  that  I  do  not  believe  it  was  ever  cre 
ated  by  a  beneficent  deity  ;  but  what  little  good  there 
is  in  it,  why  not  have  it  ?  Neither  do  I  believe  that 
it  is  the  end  of  man  to  glorify  God.  How  can  the  Infi 
nite  be  glorified  ?  Does  he  wish  for  reputation  ?  He 
has  no  equals,  no  superiors.  How  can  he  have  what 
we  call  reputation  ?  How  can  he  achieve  what  we 
call  glory  ?  Why  should  he  wish  the  flattery  of  the 
average  Presbyterian  ?  What  good  will  it  do  him 


to  know  that  his  course  has  been  approved  of  by  the 
Methodist  Episcopal  Church  ?  What  does  he  care, 
even,  for  the  religious  weeklies,  or  the  presidents  of 
religious  colleges  ?  I  do  not  see  how  we  can  help 
God,  or  hurt  him.  If  there  be  an  infinite  Being,  cer 
tainly  nothing  we  can  do  can  in  any  way  affect  him. 
We  can  affect  each  other,  and  therefore  man  should 
be  careful  not  to  sin  against  man.  For  that  reason 
I  have  said  a  hundred  times,  injustice  is  the  only 
blasphemy.  If  there  be  a  heaven  I  want  to  associate 
there  with  the  ones  who  have  loved  me  here.  I 
might  not  like  the  angels  and  the  angels  might  not 
like  me.  I  want  to  find  old  friends.  I  do  not  care 
to  associate  with  the  Infinite  ;  there  could  be  no 
freedom  in  such  society.  I  suppose  I  am  not  spirit 
ual  enough,  and  am  somewhat  touched  with  world- 
liness.  It  seems  to  me  that  everybody  ought  to  be 
honest  enough  to  say  about  the  Infinite  "  I  know 
nothing  ;"  of  eternal  joy,  "  I  have  no  conception  ;" 
about  another  world,  "  I  know  nothing."  At  the 
same  time,  I  am  not  attacking  anybody  for  believing 
in  immortality.  The  more  a  man  can  hope,  and  the 
less  he  can  fear,  the  better.  I  have  done  what  I 
could  to  drive  from  the  human  heart  the  shadow  of 
eternal  pain.  I  want  to  put  out  the  fires  of  an  ig 
norant  and  revengeful  hell. 



Ladies,  Mr.  President  and  Gentlemen  : 

1AM  here  to-night  for  the  purpose  of  defending 
your  right  to  differ  with  me.  I  want  to  convince 
you  that  you  are  under  no  compulsion  to  accept  my 
creed  ;  that  you  are,  so  far  as  I  am  concerned,  abso 
lutely  free  to  follow  the  torch  of  your  reason  accord 
ing  to  your  conscience  ;  and  I  believe  that  you  are 

*  A  discussion  between  Col.  Robert  G.  Ingersoll,  Hon.  Frederic  R.  Coudert,  Ex- 
Qov.  Stewart  L.  Woodford,  before  the  Nineteenth  Century  Club  of  New  York,  at  the 
Metropolitan  Opera  House,  May  8,  1888.  The  points  for  discussion,  as  submitted  in 
advance,  were  the  following  propositions : 

First.  Thought  is  a  necessary  natural  product — the  result  of  what  is  called  im 
pressions  made  through  the  medium  of  the  senses  upon  the  brain,  not  forgetting  the 
Fact  of  heredity. 

Second.  No  human  being  is  accountable  to  any  being— human  or  divine— for  his 

Third.  Human  beings  have  a  certain  interest  in  the  thoughts  of  each  other,  and 
one  who  undertakes  to  tell  his  thoughts  should  be  honest. 

Fourth.    All  have  an  equal  right  to  express  their  thoughts  upon  all  subjects. 

Fifth.  For  one  man  to  say  to  another,  ' '  I  tolerate  you, "  is  an  assumption  of 
authority— not  a  disclaimer,  but  a  waiver,  of  the  right  to  persecute. 

Sixth.  Each  man  has  the  same  right  to  express  to  the  whole  world  his  ideas,  that 
the  rest  of  the  world  have  to  express  their  thoughts  to  him. 

Courtlandt  Palmer,  Esq.,  President  of  the  Club,  in  introducing  Mr.  Ingersoll, 
among  other  things  said  : 

' '  The  inspiration  of  the  orator  of  the  evening  seems  to  be  that  of  the  great  Victor 
Hugo,  who  uttered  the  august  saying,  '  There  shall  be  no  slavery  of  the  mind.' 

' '  When  I  was  in  Paris,  about  a'year  ago,  I  visited  the  tomb  of  Victor  Hugo.  It  was 
placed  in  a  recess  in  the  crypt  of  the  Pantheon.  Opposite  it  was  the  tomb  of  Jean 
Jacques  Rousseau.  Near  by,  in  another  recess,  was  the  memorial  statue  of  Voltaire ; 
and  I  felt,  as  I  looked  at  these  three  monuments,  that  had  Colonel  Ingersoll  been 
born  in  France,  and  had  he  passed  in  his  long  life  account,  the  acclaim  of  the 
liberal  culture  of  France  would  have  enlarged  that  trio  into  a  quartette. 

' '  Colonel  Ingersoll  has  appeared  in  several  important  debates  in  print,  notably  with 
Judge  Jeremiah  S.  Black,  formerly  Attorney-General  of  the  United  States  ;  lately 
in  the  pages  of  The  North  American  Review  with  the  Rev.  Dr.  Henry  M.  Field,  and 
last  but  not  least  the  Right  Hon.  William  E  Gladstone,  England's  greatest  citizen, 
has  taken  up  the  cudgel  against  him  in  behalf  of  his  view  of  Orthodoxy.  To-night, 
I  believe  for  the  first  time,  the  colonel  has  consented  to  appear  in  a  colloquial  dis 
cussion,  I  have  now  the  honor  to  introduce  this  distinguished  orator.' '  (217) 


civilized  to  that  degree  that  you  will  extend  to  me 
the  right  that  you  claim  for  yourselves. 

I  admit,  at  the  very  threshold,  that  every  human 
being  thinks  as  he  must ;  and  the  first  proposition 
really  is,  whether  man  has  the  right  to  think.  It 
will  bear  but  little  discussion,  for  the  reason  that  no 
man  can  control  his  thought.  If  you  think  you  can, 
what  are  you  going  to  think  to-morrow  ?  What 
are  you  going  to  think  next  year  ?  If  you  can  ab 
solutely  control  your  thought,  can  you  stop  think 
ing  ? 

The  question  is,  Has  the  will  any  power  over 
the  thought  ?  What  is  thought  ?  It  is  the  result  of 
nature — of  the  outer  world — first  upon  the  senses — 
those  impressions  left  upon  the  brain  as  pictures  of 
things  in  the  outward  world,  and  these  pictures  are 
transformed  into,  or  produce,  thought  ;  and  as  long 
as  the  doors  of  the  senses  are  open,  thoughts  will  be 
produced.  Whoever  looks  at  anything  in  nature, 
thinks.  Whoever  hears  any  sound — or  any  sym 
phony — no  matter  what — thinks.  Whoever  looks 
upon  the  sea,  or  on  a  star,  or  on  a  flower,  or  on  the 
face  of  a  fellow-man,  thinks,  and  the  result  of  that 
look  is  an  absolute  necessity.  The  thought  pro 
duced  will  depend  upon  your  brain,  upon  your  ex 
perience,  upon  the  history  of  your  life. 


One  who  looks  upon  the  sea,  knowing  that  the 
one  he  loved  the  best  had  been  devoured  by  its 
hungry  waves,  will  have  certain  thoughts  ;  and  he 
who  sees  it  for  the  first  time,  will  have  different 
thoughts.  In  other  words,  no  two  brains  are  alike  ; 
no  two  lives  have  been  or  are  or  ever  will  be  the 
same.  Consequently,  nature  cannot  produce  the 
same  effect  upon  any  two  brains,  or  upon  any  two 

The  only  reason  why  we  wish  to  exchange 
thoughts  is  that  we  are  different.  If  we  were  all 
the  same,  we  would  die  dumb.  No  thought  would 
be  expressed  after  we  found  that  our  thoughts  were 
precisely  alike.  We  differ — our  thoughts  are  differ 
ent.  Therefore  the  commerce  that  we  call  conver 

Back  of  language  is  thought.  Back  of  language 
is  the  desire  to  express  our  thought  to  another. 
This  desire  not  only  gave  us  language — this  desire 
has  given  us  the  libraries  of  the  world.  And  not 
only  the  libraries  ;  this  desire  to  express  thought,  to 
show  to  others  the  splendid  children  of  the  brain, 
has  written  every  book,  formed  every  language, 
painted  every  picture,  and  chiseled  every  statue — 
this  desire  to  express  our  thought  to  others,  to  reap 
the  harvest  of  the  brain, 


If,  then,  thought  is  a  necessity,  "  it  follows  as  the 
night  the  day  "  that  there  is,  there  can  be,  no  respon 
sibility  for  thought  to  any  being,  human  or  divine. 

A  camera  contains  a  sensitive  plate.  The  light 
flashes  upon  it,  and  the  sensitive  plate  receives  a 
picture.  Is  it  in  fault,  is  it  responsible,  for  the  pic 
ture  ?  So  with  the  brain.  An  image  is  left  on  it,  a 
picture  is  imprinted  there.  The  plate  may  not  be 
perfectly  level — it  may  be  too  concave,  or  too  con 
vex,  and  the  picture  may  be  a  deformity  ;  so  with 
the  brain.  But  the  man  does  not  make  his  own 
brain,  and  the  consequence  is,  if  the  picture  is  dis 
torted  it  is  not  the  fault  of  the  brain. 

We  take  then  these  two  steps  :  first,  thought  is  a 
necessity  ;  and  second,  the  thought  depends  upon 
the  brain. 

Each  brain  is  a  kind  of  field  where  nature  sows 
with  careless  hands  the  seeds  of  thought.  Some 
brains  are  poor  and  barren  fields,  producing  weeds 
and  thorns,  and  some  are  like  the  tropic  world 
where  grow  the  palm  and  pine — children  of  the  sun 
and  soil. 

You  read  Shakespeare.  What  do  you  get  out 
of  Shakespeare  ?  All  that  your  brain  is  able  to 
hold.  It  depends  upon  your  brain.  If  you  are 
great — if  you  have  been  cultivated — if  the  wings  of 


your  imagination  have  been  spread — if  you  have 
had  great,  free,  and  splendid  thoughts — jr  you  have 
stood  upon  the  edge  of  things — if  you  have  had  the 
courage  to  meet  all  that  can  come — you  get  an 
immensity  from  Shakespeare.  If  you  have  lived 
nobly — if  you  have  loved  with  every  drop  of  your 
blood  and  every  fibre  of  your  being — if  you  have 
suffered — if  you  have  enjoyed — then  you  get  an 
immensity  from  Shakespeare.  But  if  you  have  lived 
a  poor,  little,  mean,  wasted,  barren,  weedy  life 
— you  get  very  little  from  that  immortal  man. 

So  it  is  from  every  source  in  nature — what  you 
get  depends  upon  what  you  are. 

Take  then  the  second  step.  If  thought  is  a  ne 
cessity,  there  can  be  no  responsibility  for  thought. 
And  why  has  man  ever  believed  that  his  fellow-man 
was  responsible  for  his  thought  ? 

Everything  that  is,  everything  that  has  been,  has 
been  naturally  produced.  Man  has  acted  as,  under 
the  same  circumstances,  we  would  have  acted  ;  be 
cause  when  you  say  "  under  the  circumstances,"  it  is 
the  same  as  to  say  that  you  would  do  exactly  as 
they  have  done. 

There  has  always  been  in  men  the  instinct  of  self- 
preservation.  There  was  a  time  when  men  believed, 
and  honestly  believed,  that  there  was  above  them  a 


God.  Sometimes  they  believed  in  many,  but  it  will 
be  sufficient  for  my  illustration  to  say,  one.  Man  be 
lieved  that  there  was  in  the  sky  above  him  a  God 
who  attended  to  the  affairs  of  men.  He  believed  that 
that  God,  sitting  upon  his  throne,  rewarded  virtue 
and  punished  vice.  He  believed  also,  that  that  God 
held  the  community  responsible  for  the  sins  of  indi 
viduals.  He  honestly  believed  it.  When  the  flood 
came,  or  when  the  earthquake  devoured,  he  really 
believed  that  some  God  was  filled  with  anger — with 
holy  indignation — at  his  children.  He  believed  it, 
and  so  he  looked  about  among  his  neighbors  to  see 
who  was  in  fault,  and  if  there  was  any  man  who  had 
failed  to  bring  his  sacrifice  to  the  altar,  had  failed  to 
kneel,  it  may  be  to  the  priest,  failed  to  be  present  in 
the  temple,  or  had  given  it  as  his  opinion  that  the 
God  of  that  tribe  or  of  that  nation  was  of  no  use,  then, 
in  order  to  placate  the  God,  they  seized  the  neighbor 
and  sacrificed  him  on  the  altar  of  their  ignorance  and 
of  their  fear. 

They  believed  when  the  lightning  leaped  from  the 
cloud  and  left  its  blackened  mark  upon  the  man,  that 
he  had  done  something — that  he  had  excited  the 
wrath  of  the  gods. 

And  while  man  so  believed,  while  he  believed 
that  it  was  necessary,  in  order  to  defend  himself,  to 


kill  his  neighbor — he  acted  simply  according  to  the 
dictates  of  his  nature. 

What  I  claim  is  that  we  have  nov  advanced  far 
enough  not  only  to  think,  but  to  know,  that  the  con 
duct  of  man  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  phenomena 
of  nature.  We  are  now  advanced  far  enough  to 
absolutely  know  that  no  man  can  be  bad  enough  and 
no  nation  infamous  enough  to  cause  an  earthquake. 
I  think  we  have  got  to  that  point  that  we  absolutely 
know  that  no  man  can  be  wicked  enough  to  entice 
one  of  the  bolts  from  heaven — that  no  man  can  be 
cruel  enough  to  cause  a  drought — and  that  you  could 
not  have  infidels  enough  on  the  earth  to  cause  another 
flood.  I  think  we  have  advanced  far  enough  not 
only  to  say  that,  but  to  absolutely  know  it — I  mean 
people  who  have  thought,  and  in  whose  minds  there 
is  something  like  reasoning. 

We  know,  if  we  know  anything,  that  the  lightning 
is  just  as  apt  to  hit  a  good  rrian  as  a  bad  man.  We 
know  it.  We  know  that  the  earthquake  is  just  as 
liable  to  swallow  virtue  as  to  swallow  vice.  And 
you  know  just  as  well  as  I  do  that  a  ship  loaded 
with  pirates  is  just  as  apt  to  outride  the  storm  as 
one  crowded  with  missionaries.  You  know  it. 

I  am  now  speaking  of  the  phenomena  of  nature.  I 
believe,  as  much  as  I  believe  that  I  live,  that  the 


reason  a  thing  is  right  is  because  it  tends  to  the 
happiness  of  mankind.  I  believe,  as  much  as  I  be- 
believe  that  I  live,  that  on  the  average  the  good  man 
is  not  only  the  happier  man, but  that  no  man  is  happy 
who  is  not  good. 

If  then  we  have  gotten  over  that  frightful,  that 
awful  superstition — we  are  ready  to  enjoy  hearing  the 
thoughts  of  each  other. 

I  do  not  say,  neither  do  I  intend  to  be  understood 
as  saying,  that  there  is  no  God.  All  I  intend  to 
say  is,  that  so  far  as  we  can  see,  no  man  is  punished, 
no  nation  is  punished  by  lightning,  or  famine,  or 
storm.  Everything  happens  to  the  one  as  to  the 

Now,  let  us  admit  that  there  is  an  infinite  God. 
That  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  sinlessness  of 
thought — nothing  to  do  with  the  fact  that  no  man  is 
accountable  to  any  being,  human  or  divine,  for  what 
he  thinks.  And  let  me  tell  you  why. 

If  there  be  an  infinite  God,  leave  him  to  deal  with 
men  who  sin  against  him.  You  can  trust  him,  if 
you  believe  in  him.  He  has  the  power.  He  has  a 
heaven  full  of  bolts.  Trust  him.  And  now  that  you 
are  satisfied  that  the  earthquake  will  not  swallow  you, 
or  the  lightning  strike  you,  simply  because  you  tell 
your  thoughts,  if  one  of  your  neighbors  differs  with 


you,  and  acts  improperly  or  thinks  or  speaks  im 
properly  of  your  God,  leave  him  with  your  God — he 
can  attend  to  him  a  thousand  times  better  than  you 
can.  He  has  the  time.  He  lives  from  eternity  to 
eternity.  More  than  that,  he  has  the  means.  So 
that,  whether  there  be  this  Being  or  not,  you  have 
no  right  to  interfere  with  your  neighbor. 

The  next  proposition  is,  that  I  have  the  same 
right  to  express  my  thought  to  the  whole  world, 
that  the  whole  world  has  to  express  its  thought  to 

I  believe  that  this  realm  of  thought  is  not  a  de 
mocracy,  where  the  majority  rule  ;  it  is  not  a  repub 
lic.  It  is  a  country  with  one  inhabitant.  This  brain 
is  the  world  in  which  my  mind  lives,  and  my  mind  is 
the  sovereign  of  that  realm.  We  are  all  kings,  and 
one  man  balances  the  rest  of  the  world  as  one  drop 
of  water  balances  the  sea.  Each  soul  is  crowned. 
Each  soul  wears  the  purple  and  the  tiara  ;  and  only 
those  are  good  citizens  of  the  intellectual  world  who 
give  to  every  other  human  being  every  right  that  they 
claim  for  themselves,  and  only  those  are  traitors  in 
the  great  realm  of  thought  who  abandon  reason  and 
appeal  to  force. 

If  now  I  have  got  out  of  your  minds  the  idea  that 
you  must  abuse  your  neighbors  to  keep  on  good 


terms  with  God,  then  the  question  of  religion  is  ex 
actly  like  every  question — I  mean  of  thought,  of 
mind — I  have  nothing  to  say  now  about  action. 

Is  there  authority  in  the  world  of  art  ?  Can  a 
legislature  pass  a  law  that  a  certain  picture  is  beauti 
ful,  and  can  it  pass  a  law  putting  in  the  penitentiary 
any  impudent  artistic  wretch  who  says  that  to  him  it 
is  not  beautiful  ?  Precisely  the  same  with  music. 
Our  ears  are  not  all  the  same  ;  we  are  not  touched 
by  the  same  sounds — the  same  beautiful  memories 
do  not  arise.  Suppose  you  have  an  authority  in 
music  ?  You  may  make  men,  it  may  be,  by  offer 
ing  them  office  or  by  threatening  them  with  punish 
ment,  swear  that  they  all  like  that  tune — but  you 
never  will  know  till  the  day  of  your  death  whether 
they  do  or  not.  The  moment  you  introduce  a  des 
potism  in  the  world  of  thought,  you  succeed  in 
making  hypocrites — and  you  get  in  such  a  posi 
tion  that  you  never  know  what  your  neighbor 

So  in  the  great  realm  of  religion,  there  can  be  no 
force.  No  erne  can  be  compelled  to  pray.  No  mat 
ter  how  you  tie  him  down,  or  crush  him  down  on 
his  face  or  on  his  knees,  it  is  above  the  power  of 
the  human  race  to  put  in  that  man,  by  force,  the  spirit 
of  prayer.  You  cannot  do  it.  Neither  can  you  com- 


pel  anybody  to  worship  a  God.  Worship  rises  from 
the  heart  like  perfume  from  a  flower.  It  cannot  obey  ; 
it  cannot  do  that  which  some  one  ekj  commands. 
It  must  be  absolutely  true  to  the  law  of  its  own  na 
ture.  And  do  you  think  any  God  would  be  satisfied 
with  compulsory  worship  ?  Would  he  like  to  see 
long  rows  of  poor,  ignorant  slaves  on  their  terri 
fied  knees  repeating  words  without  a  soul — giving 
him  what  you  might  call  the  shucks  of  sound  ?  Will 
any  God  be  satisfied  with  that  ?  And  so  I  say,  we 
must  be  as  free  in  one  department  of  thought  as  an 

Now,  I  take  the  next  step,  and  that  is,  that  the 
rights  of  all  are  absolutely  equal. 

I  have  the  same  right  to  give  you  my  opinion  that 
you  have  to  give  me  yours.  I  have  no  right  to 
compel  you  to  hear,  if  you  do  not  want  to.  I  have 
no  right  to  compel  you  to  speak  if  you  do  not  want 
to.  If  you  do  not  wish  to  know  my  thought,  I  have 
no  right  to  force  it  upon  you. 

The  next  thing  is,  that  this  liberty  of  thought, 
this  liberty  of  expression,  is  of  more  value  than  any 
other  thing  beneath  the  stars.  Of  more  value  than 
any  religion,  of  more  value  than  any  government,  of 
more  value  than  all  the  constitutions  that  man  has 
written  and  all  the  laws  that  he  has  passed,  is  this 


liberty — the  absolute  liberty  of  the  human  mind. 
Take  away  that  word  from  language,  and  all  other 
words  become  meaningless  sounds,  and  there  is 
then  no  reason  for  a  man  being  and  living  upon  the 

So  then,  I  am  simply  in  favor  of  intellectual  hos 
pitality — that  is  all.  You  come  to  me  with  a  new 
idea.  I  invite  you  into  the  house.  Let  us  see  what 
you  have.  Let  us  talk  it  over.  If  I  do  not  like 
your  thought,  I  will  bid  it  a  polite  "  good  day."  If 
I  do  like  it,  I  will  say  :  "  Sit  down  ;  stay  with  me, 
and  become  a  part  of  the  intellectual  wealth  of  my 
world."  That  is  all. 

And  how  any  human  being  ever  has  had  the  im 
pudence  to  speak  against  the  right  to  speak,  is  be 
yond  the  power  of  my  imagination.  Here  is  a  man 
who  speaks — who  exercises  a  right  that  he,  by  his 
speech,  denies.  Can  liberty  go  further  than  that  ? 
Is  there  any  toleration  possible  beyond  the  liberty  to 
speak  against  liberty — the  real  believer  in  free  speech 
allowing  others  to  speak  against  the  right  to  speak  ? 
Is  there  any  limitation  beyond  that  ? 

So,  whoever  has  spoken  against  the  right  to  speak 
has  admitted  that  he  violated  his  own  doctrine.  No 
man  can  open  his  mouth  against  the  freedom  of 
speech  without  denying  every  argument  he  may  put 


forward.  Why  ?  He  is  exercising  the  right  that 
he  denies.  How  did  he  get  it  ?  Suppose  there  is 
one  man  on  an  island.  You  will  all  admit  now  that 
he  would  have  the  right  to  do  his  own  thinking.  You 
will  all  admit  that  he  has  the  right  to  express  his 
thought.  Now,  will  somebody  tell  me  how  many 
men  would  have  to  emigrate  to  that  island  before 
the  original  settler  would  lose  his  right  to  think  and 
his  right  to  express  himself? 

If  there  be  an  infinite  Being — and  it  is  a  question 
that  I  know  nothing  about — you  would  be  perfectly 
astonished  to  know  how  little  I  do  know  on  that 
subject,  and  yet  I  know  as  much  as  the  aggregated 
world  knows,  and  as  little  as  the  smallest  insect  that 
ever  fanned  with  happy  wings  the  summer  air — if 
there  be  such  a  Being,  I  have  the  same  right  to  think 
that  he  has.  simply  because  it  is  a  necessity  of  my 
nature — because  I  cannot  help  it.  And  the  Infinite 
would  be  just  as  responsible  to  the  smallest  intelli 
gence  living  in  the  infinite  spaces — he  would  be  just 
as  responsible  to  that  intelligence  as  that  intelligence 
can  be  to  him,  provided  that  intelligence  thinks  as  a 
necessity  of  his  nature. 

There  is  another  phrase  to  which  I  object — "  tolera 
tion."  "  The  limits  of  toleration."  Why  say  "  tol 
eration  "  ?  I  will  tell  you  why.  When  the  thinkers 


were  in  the  minority — when  the  philosophers  were 
vagabonds — when  the  men  with  brains  furnished 
fuel  for  bonfires — when  the  majority  were  ignorantly 
orthodox — when  they  hated  the  heretic  as  a  last 
year's  leaf  hates  a  this  year's  bud — in  that  delightful 
time  these  poor  people  in  the  minority  had  to  say  to 
ignorant  power,  to  conscientious  rascality,  to  cruelty 
born  of  universal  love  :  "  Don't  kill  us ;  don't  be 
so  arrogantly  meek  as  to  burn  us ;  tolerate  us." 
At  that  time  the  minority  was  too  small  to  talk 
about  rights,  and  the  great  big  ignorant  majority 
when  tired  of  shedding  blood,  said  :  "  Well,  we  will 
tolerate  you  ;  we  can  afford  to  wait ;  you  will  not 
live  long,  and  when  the  Being  of  infinite  compassion 
gets  hold  of  you  we  will  glut  our  revenge  through 
an  eternity  of  joy  ;  we  will  ask  you  every  now  and 
then, '  What  is  your  opinion  now  ?' ' 

Both  feeling  absolutely  sure  that  infinite  goodness 
would  have  his  revenge,  they  "  tolerated "  these 
thinkers,  and  that  word  finally  took  the  place  almost 
of  liberty.  But  I  do  not  like  it.  When  you  say  "  I 
tolerate,"  you  do  not  say  you  have  no  right  to  punish, 
no  right  to  persecute.  It  is  only  a  disclaimer  for  a 
few  moments  and  for  a  few  years,  but  you  retain  the 
right.  I  deny  it. 

And  let  me  say  here  to-night — it  is   your  experi- 


ence,  it  is  mine — that  the  bigger  a  man  is  the  more 
charitable  he  is  ;  you  know  it.  The  more  brain  he 
has,  the  more  excuses  he  finds  for  all  the  world  ;  you 
know  it.  And  if  there  be  in  heaven  an  infinite 
Being,  he  must  be  grander  than  any  man  ;  he  must 
have  a  thousand  times  more  charity  than  the  human 
heart  can  hold,  and  is  it  possible  that  he  is  going  to 
hold  his  ignorant  children  responsible  for  the  impres 
sions  made  by  nature  upon  their  brain  ?  Let  us 
have  some  sense. 

There  is  another  side  to  this  question,  and  that  is 
with  regard  to  the  freedom  of  thought  and  expres 
sion  in  matters  pertaining  to  this  world. 

No  man  has  a  right  to  hurt  the  character  of  a 
neighbor.  He  has  no  right  to  utter  slander.  He 
has  no  right  to  bear  false  witness.  He  has  no  right 
to  be  actuated  by  any  motive  except  for  the  general 
good — but  the  things  he  does  here  to  his  neighbor 
— these  are  easily  defined  and  easily  punished.  All 
that  I  object  to  is  setting  up  a  standard  of  authority 
in  the  world  of  art,  the  world  of  beauty,  the  world  of 
poetry,  the  world  of  worship,  the  world  of  religion, 
and  the  world  of  metaphysics.  That  is  what  I  object 
to  ;  and  if  the  old  doctrines  had  been  carried  out, 
every  human  being  that  has  benefited  this  world 
would  have  been  destroyed.  If  the  people  who  be- 


Heve  that  a  certain  belief  is  necessary  to  insure 
salvation  had  had  control  of  this  world,  we  would 
have  been  as  ignorant  to-night  as  wild  beasts. 
Every  step  in  advance  has  been  made  in  spite  of 
them.  There  has  not  been  a  book  of  any  value 
printed  since  the  invention  of  that  art — and  when  I 
say  "  of  value,"  I  mean  that  contained  new  and 
splendid  truths — that  was  not  anathematized  by  the 
gentlemen  who  believed  that  man  is  responsible  for 
his  thought.  Every  step  has  been  taken  in  spite  of 
that  doctrine. 

Consequently  I  simply  believe  in  absolute  liberty 
of  mind.  And  I  have  no  fear  about  any  other  world 
— not  the  slightest.  When  I  get  there,  I  will  give 
my  honest  opinion  of  that  country  ;  I  will  give  my 
honest  thought  there  ;  and  if  for  that  I  lose  my  soul, 
I  will  keep  at  least  my  self-respect^ 

A  man  tells  me  a  story.  I  believe  it,  or  dis 
believe  it.  I  cannot  help  it.  I  read  a  story — no 
matter  whether  in  the  original  Hebrew,  or  whether 
it  has  been  translated.  I  believe  it  or  I  disbelieve 
it.  No  matter  whether  it  is  written  in  a  very  solemn 
or  a  very  flippant  manner — I  have  my  idea  about  its 
truth.  And  I  insist  that  each  man  has  the  right  to 
judge  that  for  himself,  and  for  that  reason,  as  I  have 
already  said,  I  am  defending  your  right  to  differ  with 


me — that  is  all.  And  if  you  do  differ  with  me,  all  that 
it  proves  is  that  I  do  not  agree  with  you.  There  is 
no  man  that  lives  to-night  beneath  the  stars — there 
is  no  being — that  can  force  my  soul  uAJon  its  knees, 
unless  the  reason  is  given.  I  will  be  no  slave.  I  do 
not  care  how  big  my  master  is,  I  am  just  as  small,  if 
a  slave,  as  though  the  master  were  small.  It  is  not 
the  greatness  of  the  master  that  can  honor  the  slave. 
In  other  words,  I  am  going  to  act  according  to  my 
right,  as  I  understand  it,  without  interfering  with  any 
other  human  being.  And  now,  if  you  think — any  of 
you,  that  you  can  control  your  thought,  I  want  you 
to  try  it.  There  is  not  one  here  who  can  by  any 
possibility  think,  only  as  he  must. 

You  remember  the  story  of  the  Methodist 
minister  who  insisted  that  he  could  control  his 
thoughts.  A  man  said  to  him,  "  Nobody  can  con 
trol  his  own  mind."  "  Oh,  yes,  he  can,"  the 
preacher  replied.  "  My  dear  sir,"  said  the  man, 
"  you  cannot  even  say  the  Lord's  Prayer  without 
thinking  of  something  else."  "  Oh,  yes,  I  can." 
"  Well,  if  you  will  do  it,  I  will  give  you  that  horse, 
the  best  riding  horse  in  this  county."  "  Well,  who 
is  to  judge  ?  "  said  the  preacher.  "  I  will  take  your 
own  word  for  it,  and  if  you  say  the  Lord's  Prayer 
through  without  thinking  of  anything  else,  I  will  give 


you  that  horse."  So  the  minister  shut  his  eyes  and 
began:  "Our  Father  which  art  in  heaven,  Hallowed  be 
thy  name.  Thy  kingdom  come.  Thy  will  be  done," — 
"  I  suppose  you  will  throw  in  the  saddle  and  bridle? " 

I  say  to  you  to-night,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  that 
I  feel  more  interest  in  the  freedom  of  thought  and 
speech  than  in  all  other  questions,  knowing,  as  I 
do,  that  it  is  the  condition  of  great  and  splendid 
progress  for  the  race  ;  remembering,  as  I  do,  that 
the  opposite  idea  has  covered  the  cheek  of  the 
world  with  tears  ;  remembering,  and  knowing,  as  I 
do,  that  the  enemies  of  free  thought  and  free  speech 
have  covered  this  world  with  blood.  These  men 
have  filled  the  heavens  with  an  infinite  monster ; 
they  have  filled  the  future  with  fire  and  flame,  and 
they  have  made  the  present,  when  they  have  had 
the  power,  a  perdition.  These  men,  these  doctrines, 
have  carried  fagots  to  the  feet  of  philosophy. 
These  men,  these  doctrines,  have  hated  to  see  the 
dawn  of  an  intellectual  day.  These  men,  these 
doctrines,  have  denied  every  science,  and  denounced 
and  killed  every  philosopher  they  could  lay  their 
bloody,  cruel,  ignorant  hands  upon. 

And  for  that  reason,  I  am  for  absolute  liberty  of 
thought,  everywhere,  in  every  department,  domain, 
and  realm  of  the  human  mind. 


Ladies  and  Gentlemen  and  Mr.  President :  It  is 
not  only  "  the  sense  of  the  church  "  that  I  am  lack 
ing  now,  I  am  afraid  it  is  any  sense  at  all ;  and  I  am 
only  wondering  how  a  reasonably  intelligent  being 
— meaning  myself — could  in  view  of  the  misfortune 
that  befell  Mr.  Kernan,  have  undertaken  to  speak 

This  is  a  new  experience.  I  have  never  sung  in  any 
of  Verdi's  operas — I  have  never  listened  to  one 
through — but  I  think  I  would  prefer  to  try  all  three  of 
these  performances  rather  than  go  on  with  this  duty 
which,  in  a  vain  moment  of  deluded  vanity,  I  heed 
lessly  undertook. 

I  am  in  a  new  field  here.  I  feel  very  much  like 
the  master  of  a  ship  who  thinks  that  he  can  safely  guide 
his  bark.  (I  am  not  alluding  to  the  traditional  bark 
of  St.  Peter,  in  which  I  hope  that  I  am  and  will  al 
ways  be,  but  the  ordinary  bark  that  requires  a  com 
pass  and  a  rudder  and  a  guide.)  And  I  find  that  all 
these  ordinary  things,  which  we  generally  take  for 
granted,  and  which  are  as  necessary  to  our  safety  as  the 



air  which  we  breathe,  or  the  sunshine  that  we  enjoy, 
have  been  quietly,  pleasantly,  and  smilingly  thrown 
overboard  by  the  gentleman  who  has  just  preceded 

Carlyle  once  said — and  the  thought  came  to  me  as 
the  gentlman  was  speaking — "A  Comic  History  of 
England  !" — for  some  wretch  had  just  written  such  a 
book — (talk  of  free  thought  and  free  speech  when 
men  do  such  things!) — "  A  Comic  History  of  En 
gland!"  The  next  thing  we  shall  hear  of  will  be  "A 
Comic  History  of  the  Bible !"  I  think  we  have 
heard  the  first  chapter  of  that  comic  history  to-night ; 
and  the  only  comfort  that  I  have — and  possibly  some 
other  antiquated  and  superannuated  persons  of  either 
sex,  if  such  there  be  within  my  hearing — is  that  such 
things  as  have  seemed  to  me  charmingly  to  partake 
of  the  order  of  blasphemy,  have  been  uttered  with 
such  charming  bonhomie,  and  received  with  such  en 
thusiastic  admiration,  that  I  have  wondered  whether 
we  are  in  a  Christian  audience  of  the  nineteenth 
century,  or  in  a  possible  Ingersollian  audience  of  the 

And  let  me  first,  before  I  enter  upon  the  very  few 
and  desultory  remarks,  which  are  the  only  ones  that 
I  can  make  now  and  with  which  I  may  claim  your 
polite  attention — let  me  say  a  word  about  the  com- 


parison  with  which  your  worthy  President  opened 
these  proceedings. 

There  are  two  or  three  things  upon  which  I  am  a 
little  sensitive  :  One,  aspersions  upon  the  land  of  my 
birth — the  city  of  New  York  ;  the  next,  the  land  of 
my  fathers  ;  and  the  next,  the  bark  that  I  was  just 
speaking  of. 

Now  your  worthy  President,  in  his  well-meant 
efforts  to  exhibit  in  the  best  possible  style  the  new 
actor  upon  his  stage,  said  that  he  had  seen  Victor 
Hugo's  remains,  and  Voltaire's,  and  Jean  Jacques 
Rousseau's,  and  that  he  thought  the  niche  might 
well  be  filled  by  Colonel  Ingersoll.  If  that  had  been 
merely  the  expression  of  a  natural  desire  to  see  him 
speedily  annihilated,  I  might  perhaps  in  the  inter 
ests  of  the  Christian  community  have  thought,  but 
not  said,  "Amen  !"  (Here  you  will  at  once  observe 
the  distinction  I  make  between  free  thought  and  free 
speech  !) 

I  do  not  think,  and  I  beg  that  none  of  you,  and 
particularly  the  eloquent  rhetorician  who  preceded 
me,  will  think,  that  in  anything  I  may  say  I  intend 
any  personal  discourtesy,  for  I  do  believe  to  some 
extent  in  freedom  of  speech  upon  a  platform  like 
this.  Such  a  debate  as  this  rises  entirely  above 
and  beyond  the  plane  of  personalities. 


I  suppose  that  your  President  intended  to  com 
pare  Colonel  Ingersoll  to  Voltaire,  to  Hugo  and  to 
Rousseau.  I  have  no  retainer  from  either  of  those 
gentlemen,  but  for  the  reason  that  I  just  gave  you, 
I  wish  to  defend  their  memory  from  what  I  consider 
a  great  wrong.  And  so  I  do  not  think — with  all 
respect  to  the  eloquent  and  learned  gentleman — 
that  he  is  entitled  to  a  place  in  that  niche.  Vol 
taire  did  many  wrong  things.  He  did  them  for 
many  reasons,  and  chiefly  because  he  was  human. 
But  Voltaire  did  a  great  deal  to  build  up.  Leaving 
aside  his  noble  tragedies,  which  charmed  and  de 
lighted  his  audiences,  and  dignified  the  stage, 
throughout  his  work  was  some  effort  to  ameliorate 
the  condition  of  the  human  race.  He  fought  against 
torture  ;  he  fought  against  persecution  ;  he  fought 
against  bigotry ;  he  clamored  and  wrote  against 
littleness  and  fanaticism  in  every  way,  and  he  was 
not  ashamed  when  he  entered  upon  his  domains  at 
Fernay,  to  erect  a  church  to  the  God  of  whom  the 
most  our  friend  can  say  is,  "I  do  not  know  whether 
he  exists  or  not." 

Rousseau  did  many  noble  things,  but  he  was  a 
madman,  and  in  our  day  would  probably  have  been 
locked  up  in  an  asylum  and  treated  by  intelligent 
doctors.  His  works,  however,  bear  the  impress  of  a 


religious  education,  and  if  there  be  in  his  works  or 
sayings  anything  to  parallel  what  we  have  heard  to 
night — whether  a  parody  on  divine  revelation,  or  a 
parody  upon  the  prayer  of  prayers — I  have  not 
seen  it. 

Victor  Hugo  has  enriched  the  literature  of  his  day 
with  prose  and  poetry  that  have  made  him  the 
Shakespeare  of  the  nineteenth  century — poems  as 
deeply  imbued  with  a  devout  sense  of  responsibility 
to  the  Almighty  as  the  writings  of  an  archbishop  or 
a  cardinal.  He  has  left  the  traces  of  his  beneficent 
action  all  over  the  literature  of  his  day,  of  his  country, 
and  of  his  race. 

All  these  men,  then,  have  built  up  something. 
Will  anyone,  the  most  ardent  admirer  of  Colonel 
Ingersoll,  tell  me  what  he  has  built  up  ? 

To  go  now  to  the  argument.  The  learned  gentle 
man  says  that  freedom  of  thought  is  a  grand  thing. 
Unfortunately,  freedom  of  thought  exists.  What 
one  of  us  would  not  put  manacles  and  fetters  upon 
his  thoughts,  if  he  only  could  ?  What  persecution 
have  any  of  us  suffered  to  compare  with  the  invol 
untary  recurrence  of  these  demons  that  enter  our 
brain — that  bring  back  past  events  that  we  would 
wipe  out  with  our  tears,  or  even  with  our  blood — 
and  make  us  slaves  of  a  power  unseen  but  uncon- 


trollable  and  uncontrolled  ?  Is  it  not  unworthy  of 
so  eloquent  and  intelligent  a  man  to  preach  before 
you  here  to-night  that  thought  must  always  be 
free  ? 

When  in  the  history  of  the  world  has  thought  ever 
been  fettered  ?  If  there  be  a  page  in  history  upon 
which  such  an  absurdity  is  written,  I  have  failed  to 
find  it. 

Thought  is  beyond  the  domain  of  man.  The  most 
cruel  and  arbitrary  ruler  can  no  more  penetrate  into 
your  bosom  and  mine  and  extract  the  inner  work 
ings  of  our  brain,  than  he  can  scale  the  stars  or  pull 
down  the  sun  from  its  seat.  Thought  must  be  free. 
Thought  is  unseen,  unhandled  and  untouched,  and 
no  despot  has  yet  been  able  to  reach  it,  except  when 
the  thoughts  burst  into  words.  And  therefore,  may 
we  not  consider  now,  and  say,  that  liberty  of  word  is 
what  he  wants,  and  not  liberty  of  thought,  which  no 
one  has  ever  gainsaid,  or  disputed  ? 

Liberty  of  speech ! — and  the  gentleman  generously 
tells  us,  "  Why,  I  only  ask  for  myself  what  I  would 
cheerfully  extend  to  you.  I  wish  you  to  be  free  ; 
and  you  can  even  entertain  those  old  delusions 
which  your  mothers  taught,  and  look  with  envious 
admiration  upon  me  while  I  scale  the  giddy  heights 
of  Olympus,  gather  the  honey  and  approach  the 


stars  and  tell  you  how  pure  the  air  is  in  those  upper 
regions  which  you  are  unable  to  reach." 

Thanks  for  his  kindness  !  But  I  think  that  it  is 
one  thing  for  us  to  extend  to  him  that  liberty  that  he 
asks  for — the  liberty  to  destroy — and  another  thing 
for  him  to  give  us  the  liberty  which  we  claim — the 
liberty  to  conserve. 

Oh,  destruction  is  so  easy,  destruction  is  so 
pleasant!  It  marks  the  footsteps  all  through  our 
life.  The  baby  begins  by  destroying  his  bib  ;  the 
older  child  by  destroying  his  horse,  and  when  the 
man  is  grown  up  and  he  joins  the  regiment  with 
the  latent  instinct  that  when  he  gets  a  chance  he  will 
destroy  human  life. 

This  building  cost  many  thousand  days'  work.  It 
was  planned  by  more  or  less  skillful  architects  (ig 
norant  of  ventilation,  but  well-meaning).  Men 
lavished  their  thought,  and  men  lavished  their  sweat 
for  a  pittance,  upon  this  building.  It  took  months 
and  possibly  years  to  build  it  and  to  adorn  it  and 
to  beautify  it.  And  yet,  as  it  stands  complete  to 
night  with  all  of  you  here  in  the  vigor  of  your  life 
and  in  the  enjoyment  of  such  entertainment  as  you 
may  get  here  this  evening,  I  will  find  a  dozen  men 
who  with  a  few  pounds  of  dynamite  will  reduce  it 
and  all  of  us  to  instant  destruction. 


The  dynamite  man  may  say  to  me,  "  I  give  you 
full  liberty  to  build  and  occupy  and  insure,  if  you 
will  give  me  liberty  to  blow  up."  Is  that  a  fair  bar 
gain  ?  Am  I  bound  in  conscience  and  in  good  sense 
to  accept  it  ?  Liberty  of  speech  !  Tell  me  where 
liberty  of  speech  has  ever  existed.  There  have 
been  free  societies,  England  was  a  free  country. 
France  has  struggled  through  crisis  after  crisis  to 
obtain  liberty  of  speech.  We  think  we  have  liberty 
of  speech,  as  we  understand  it,  and  yet  who  would 
undertake  to  say  that  our  society  could  live  with 
liberty  of  speech  ?  We  have  gone  through  many 
crises  in  our  short  history,  and  we  know  that  thought 
is  nothing  before  the  law,  but  the  word  is  an  act — 
as  guilty  at  times  as  the  act  of  killing,  or  burglary, 
or  any  of  the  violent  crimes  that  disgrace  humanity 
and  require  the  police. 

A  word  is  an  act — an  act  of  the  tongue  ;  and 
why  should  my  tongue  go  unpunished,  and  I  who 
wield  it  mercilessly  toward  those  who  are  weaker 
than  I,  escape,  if  my  arm  is  to  be  punished  when  I  use 
it  tyrannously  ?  Whom  would  you  punish  for  the 
murder  of  Desdemona — is  it  lago,  or  Othello  ? 
Who  was  the  villain,  who  was  the  criminal,  who  de 
served  the  scaffold — who  but  free  speech  ?  lago 
exercised  free  speech.  He  poisoned  the  ear  of 


Othello  and  nerved  his  arm  and  Othello  was  the 
murderer — but  lago  went  scot  free.  That  was  a 

"  Oh,"  says  the  counsel,  "  but  that  does  not  apply 
to  individuals  ;  be  tender  and  charitable  to  individ 
uals."  Tender  and  charitable  to  men  if  they 
endeavor  to  destroy  all  that  you  love  and  venerate 
and  respect ! 

Are  you  tender  and  charitable  to  me  if  you  enter 
my  house,  my  castle,  and  debauch  my  children  from 
the  faith  that  they  have  been  taught  ?  Are  you 
tender  and  charitable  to  them  and  to  me  when  you 
teach  them  that  I  have  instructed  them  in  falsehood, 
that  their  mother  has  rocked  them  in  blasphemy, 
and  that  they  are  now  among  the  fools  and  the 
witlings  of  the  world  because  they  believe  in  my 
precepts  ?  Is  that  the  charity  that  you  speak  of  ? 
Heaven  forbid  that  liberty  of  speech  such  as  that, 
should  ever  invade  my  home  or  yours ! 

We  all  understand,  and  the  learned  gentleman 
will  admit,  that  his  discourse  is  but  an  eloquent 
apology  for  blasphemy.  And  when  I  say  this, 
I  beg  you  to  believe  me  incapable  of  resorting  to  the 
cheap  artifice  of  strong  words  to  give  point  to  a 
pointless  argument,  or  to  offend  a  courteous  adver 
sary.  I  think  if  I  put  it  to  him  he  would,  with 


characteristic  candor,  say,  "  Yes,  that  is  what  I  claim 
— the  liberty  to  blaspheme  ;  the  world  has  outgrown 
these  things  ;  and  I  claim  to-day,  as  I  claimed  a  few 
months  ago  in  the  neighboring  gallant  little  State  of 
New  Jersey,  that  while  you  cannot  slander  man,  your 
tongue  is  free  to  revile  and  insult  man's  maker." 
New  Jersey  was  behind  in  the  race  for  progress, 
and  did  not  accept  his  argument.  His  unfortu 
nate  client  was  convicted  and  had  to  pay  the  fine 
which  the  press — which  is  seldom  mistaken — says 
came  from  the  pocket  of  his  generous  counsel. 

The  argument  was  a  strong  one  ;  the  argument 
was  brilliant,  and  was  able  ;  and  I  say  now,  with 
all  my  predilections  for  the  church  of  my  fathers, 
and  for  your  church  (because  it  is  not  a  question  of 
our  differences,  but  it  is  a  question  whether  the  tree 
shall  be  torn  up  by  the  roots,  not  what  branches  may 
bear  richer  fruit  or  deserve  to  be  lopped  off) — I  say, 
why  has  every  Christian  State  passed  these  statutes 
against  blasphemy  ?  Turning  into  ridicule  sacred 
things — firing  off  the  Lord's  Prayer  as  you  would  a 
joke  from  Joe  Miller  or  a  comic  poem — that  is  what 
I  mean  by  blasphemy.  If  there  is  any  other  or  bet 
ter  definition,  give  it  me,  and  I  will  use  it. 

Now  understand.     All  these  States  of  ours  care 
not   one   fig  what  our   religion   is.     Behave  your- 


selves  properly,  obey  the  laws,  do  not  require  the 
intervention  of  the  police,  and  the  majesty  of  your 
conscience  will  be  as  exalted  as  the  sun.  But  the 
wisest  men  and  the  best  men  — possibly  not  so  elo 
quent  as  the  orator,  but  I  may  say  it  without  offence 
to  him — other  names  that  shine  brightly  in  the  galaxy 
of  our  best  men,  have  insisted  and  maintained  that 
the  Christian  faith  was  the  ligament  that  kept  our 
modern  society  together,  and  our  laws  have  said, 
and  the  laws  of  most  of  our  States  say,  to  this  day, 
"Think  what  you  like,  but  do  not,  like  Samson,  pull 
the  pillars  down  upon  us  all." 

If  I  had  anything  to  say,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  it 
is  time  that  I  should  say  it  now.  My  exordium  has 
been  very  long,  but  it  was  no  longer  than  the 
dignity  of  the  subject,  perhaps,  demanded. 

Free  speech  we  all  have.  Absolute  liberty  of 
speech  we  never  had.  Did  we  have  it  before  the 
war  ?  Many  of  us  here  remember  that  if  you 
crossed  an  imaginary  line  and  went  among  some  of 
the  noblest  and  best  men  that  ever  adorned  this 
continent,  one  word  against  slavery  meant  death. 
And  if  you  say  that  that  was  the  influence  of  slavery, 
I  will  carry  you  to  Boston,  that  city  which  numbers 
within  its  walls  as  many  intelligent  people  to  the 
acre  as  any  city  on  the  globe — was  it  different  there  ? 


Why,  the  fugitive,  beaten,  blood-stained  slave, 
when  he  got  there,  was  seized  and  turned  back ; 
and  when  a  few  good  and  brave  men,  in  defence  of 
free  speech,  undertook  to  defend  the  slave  and  to 
try  and  give  him  liberty,  they  were  mobbed  and 
pelted  and  driven  through  the  city.  You  may  say, 
"  That  proves  there  was  no  liberty  of  speech."  No  ; 
it  proves  this  :  that  wherever,  and  wheresoever,  and 
whenever,  liberty  of  speech  is  incompatible  with  the 
safety  of  the  State,  liberty  of  speech  must  fall  back 
and  give  way,  in  order  that  the  State  may  be  pre 

First,  above  everything,  above  all  things,  the 
safety  of  the  people  is  the  supreme  law.  And  if 
rhetoricians,  anxious  to  tear  down,  anxious  to  pluck 
the  faith  from  the  young  ones  who  are  unable  to 
defend  it,  come  forward  with  nickel-plated  plati 
tudes  and  commonplaces  clothed  in  second-hand 
purple  and  tinsel,  and  try  to  tear  down  the  temple, 
then  it  is  time,  I  shall  not  say  for  good  men — for  I 
know  so  few  they  make  a  small  battalion — but  for 
good  women,  to  come  to  the  rescue. 


Mr.  Chairman,  Ladies  and  Gentlemen  :  At  this 
late  hour,  I  could  not  attempt — even  if  I  would — 
the  eloquence  of  my  friend  Colonel  Ingersoll  ;  nor 
the  wit  and  rapier-like  sarcasm  of  my  other  valued 
friend  Mr.  Coudert.  But  there  are  some  things  so 
serious  about  this  subject  that  we  discuss  to-night, 
that  I  crave  your  pardon  if,  without  preface,  and  with 
out  rhetoric,  I  get  at  once  to  what  from  my  Protestant 
standpoint  seems  the  fatal  logical  error  of  Mr.  Inger- 
soll's  position. 

Mr.  Ingersoll  starts  with  the  statement — and  that 
I  may  not,  for  I  could  not,  do  him  injustice,  nor  my 
self  injustice,  in  the  quotation,  I  will  give  it  as  he 
stated  it — he  starts  with  this  statement :  that  thought 
is  a  necessary  natural  product,  the  result  of  what  we 
call  impressions  made  through  the  medium  of  the 
senses  upon  the  brain. 

Do  you  think  that  is  thought  ?  Now  stop — turn 
right  into  your  own  minds — is  that  thought  ?  Does 
not  will  power  take  hold  ?  Does  not  reason  take 



hold  ?  Does  not  memory  take  hold,  and  is  not 
thought  the  action  of  the  brain  based  upon  the  im 
pression  and  assisted  or  directed  by  manifold  and 
varying  influences  ? 

Secondly,  our  friend  Mr.  Ingersoll  says  that  no 
human  being  is  accountable  to  any  being,  human  or 
divine,  for  his  thought. 

He  starts  with  the  assumption  that  thought  is  the 
inevitable  impression  burnt  upon  the  mind  at  once, 
and  then  jumps  to  the  conclusion  that  there  is  no 
responsibility.  Now,  is  not  that  a  fair  logical  analy 
sis  of  what  he  has  said  ? 

My  senses  leave  upon  my  mind  an  impression, 
and  then  my  mind,  out  of  that  impression,  works 
good  or  evil.  The  glass  of  brandy,  being  presented 
to  my  physical  sense,  inspires  thirst— Inspires  the 
thought  of  thirst — inspires  the  instinct  of  debauchery. 
Am  I  not  accountable  for  the  result  of  the  mind 
given  me,  whether  I  yield  to  the  debauch,  or  rise  to 
the  dignity  of  self-control  ? 

Every  thing  of  sense  leaves  its  impression  upon 
the  mind.  If  there  be  no  responsibility  anywhere, 
then  is  this  world  blind  chance.  If  there  be  no  re 
sponsibility  anywhere,  then  my  friend  deserves  no 
credit  if  he  be  guiding  you  in  the  path  of  truth,  and 
I  d*"*erve  no  censure  if  I  be  carrying  you  back  into 


the  path  of  superstition.  Why,  admit  for  a  moment 
that  a  man  has  no  control  over  his  thought,  and  you 
destroy  absolutely  the  power  of  regenerating  the 
world,  the  power  of  improving  the  world.  The 
world  swings  one  way,  or  it  swings  the  other.  If 
it  be  true  that  in  all  these  ages  we  have  come  nearer 
and  nearer  to  a  perfect  liberty,  that  is  true  simply 
and  alone  because  the  mind  of  man  through  reason, 
through  memory,  through  a  thousand  inspirations 
and  desires  and  hopes,  has  ever  tended  toward  better 
results  and  higher  achievements. 

No  accountability  ?  I  speak  not  for  my  friend, 
but  I  recognize  that  I  am  accountable  to  myself ;  I 
recognize  that  whether  I  rise  or  fall,  that  whether  my 
life  goes  upward  or  downward,  I  am  responsible  to 
myself.  And  so,  in  spite  of  all  sophistry,  so  in  spite 
of  all  dream,  so  in  spite  of  all  eloquence,  each 
woman,  each  man  within  this  audience  is  responsible 
— first  of  all  to  herself  and  himself — whether  when 
bad  thoughts,  when  passion,  when  murder,  when 
evil  come  into  the  heart  or  brain  he  harbors  them 
there  or  he  casts  them  out. 

I  am  responsible  further — I  am  responsible  to  my 
neighbor.  I  know  that  I  am  my  neighbor's  keeper, 
I  know  that  as  I  touch  your  life,  as  you  touch  mine, 
I  am  responsible  every  moment,  every  hour,  every 


day,  for  my  influence  upon  you.  I  am  either  helping 
you  up,  or  I  am  dragging  you  down  ;  you  are  either 
helping  me  up  or  you  are  dragging  me  down — and 
you  know  it.  Sophistry  cannot  get  away  from  this  ; 
eloquence  cannot  seduce  us  from  it.  You  know  that 
if  you  look  back  through  the  record  of  your  life,  there 
are  lives  that  you  have  helped  and  lives  that  you 
have  hurt.  You  know  that  there  are  lives  on  the 
downward  plane  that  went  down  because  in  an  evil 
hour  you  pushed  them  ;  you  know,  perhaps  with 
blessing,  lives  that  have  gone  up  because  you  have 
reached  out  to  them  a  helping  hand.  That  respon 
sibility  for  your  neighbor  is  a  responsibility  and  an 
accountability  that  you  and  I  cannot  avoid  or  evade. 
I  believe  one  thing  further  :  that  because  there  is 
a  creation  there  is  a  Creator.  I  believe  that  because 
there  is  force,  there  is  a  Projector  of  force  ;  because 
there  is  matter,  there  is  spirit.  I  reverently  believe 
these  things.  I  am  not  angry  with  my  neighbor  be 
cause  he  does  not ;  it  may  be  that  he  is  right,  that  I 
am  wrong ;  but  if  there  be  a  Power  that  sent  me 
into  this  world,  so  far  as  that  Power  has  given  me 
wrong  direction,  or  permitted  wrong  direction,  that 
Power  will  judge  me  justly.  So  far  as  I  disregard 
the  light  that  I  have,  whatever  it  may  be — whether 
jt  be  light  of  reason,  light  of  conscience,  light  of 


history — so  far  as  I  do  that  which  my  judgment  tells 
me  is  wrong,  I  am  responsible  and  I  am  account 

Now  the  Protestant  theory,  as  I  understand  it,  is 
simply  this  :  It  would  vary  from  the  theory  as  taught 
by  the  mother  church — it  certainly  swings  far  away 
from  the  theory  as  suggested  by  my  friend  ;  I  under 
stand  the  Protestant  theory  to  be  this  :  That  every 
man  is  responsible  to  himself,  to  his  neighbor,  and  to 
his  God,  for  his  thought.  Not  for  the  first  impres 
sion — but  for  that  impression,  for  that  direction  and 
result  which  he  intelligently  gives  to  the  first  impres 
sion  or  deduces  from  it.  I  understand  that  the  Prot 
estant  idea  is  this  :  that  man  may  think — we  know 
he  will  think — for  himself ;  but  that  he  is  responsible 
for  it.  That  a  man  may  speak  his  thought,  so  long  as 
he  does  not  hurt  his  neighbor.  He  must  use  his  own 
liberty  so  that  he  shall  not  injure  the  well-being  of 
any  other  one — so  that  when  using  this  liberty,  when 
exercising  this  freedom,  he  is  accountable  at  the  last 
to  his  God.  And  so  Protestantism  sends  me  into 
the  world  with  this  terrible  and  solemn  responsibility. 

It  leaves  Mr.  Ingersoll  free  to  speak  his  thought  at 
the  bar  of  his  conscience,  before  the  bar  of  his  fellow- 
man,  but  it  holds  him  in  the  inevitable  grip  of  abso 
lute  responsibility  for  every  light  word  idly  spoken. 


God  grant  that  he  may  use  that  power  so  that  he 
can  face  that  responsibility  at  the  last ! 

It  leaves  to  every  churchman  liberty  to  believe 
and  stand  by  his  church  according  to  his  own  con 
viction.  It  stands  for  this  ;  the  absolute  liberty  of 
each  individual  man  to  think,  to  write,  to  speak,  to 
act,  according  to  the  best  light  within  him  ;  limited 
as  to  his  fellows,  by  the  condition  that  he  shall  not 
use  that  liberty  so  as  to  injure  them  ;  limited  in  the 
other  direction,  by  those  tremendous  laws  which 
are  laws  in  spite  of  all  rhetoric,  and  in  spite  of  all 

If  I  put  my  finger  into  the  fire,  that  fire  burns.  If 
I  do  a  wrong,  that  wrong  remains.  If  I  hurt  my 
neighbor,  the  wrong  reacts  upon  myself.  If  I  would 
try  to  escape  what  you  call  judgment,  what  you  call 
penalty,  I  cannot  escape  the  working  of  the  inevit 
able  law  that  follows  a  cause  by  effect ;  I  cannot 
escape  that  inevitable  law — not  the  creation  of  some 
dark  monster  flashing  through  the  skies — but,  as  I 
believe,  the  beneficent  creation  which  puts  into  the 
spiritual  life  the  same  control  of  law  that  guides  the 
material  life,  which  wisely  makes  me  responsible, 
that  in  the  solemnity  of  that  responsibility  I  am 
bound  to  lift  my  brother  up  and  never  to  drag  my 
brother  down. 


The  first  gentleman  who  replied  to  me  took 
the  ground  boldly  that  expression  is  not  free — 
that  no  man  has  the  right  to  express  his  real 
thoughts — and  I  suppose  that  he  acted  in  accord 
ance  with  that  idea.  How  are  you  to  know  whether 
he  thought  a  solitary  thing  that  he  said,  or  not  ? 
How  is  it  possible  for  us  to  ascertain  whether  he  is 
simply  the  mouthpiece  of  some  other  ?  Whether 
he  is  a  free  man,  or  whether  he  says  that  which  he 
does  not  believe,  it  is  impossible  for  us  to  ascer 

He  tells  you  that  I  am  about  to  take  away  the 
religion  of  your  mothers.  I  have  heard  that  said  a 
great  many  times.  No  doubt  Mr.  Coudert  has  the 
religion  of  his  mother,  and  judging  from  the  argu 
ment  he  made,  his  mother  knew  at  least  as  much 
about  these  questions  as  her  son.  I  believe  that 
every  good  father  and  good  mother  wants  to  see  the 
son  and  the  daughter  climb  higher  upon  the  great 
and  splendid  mount  of  thought  than  they  reached. 



You  never  can  honor  your  father  by  going  around 
swearing  to  his  mistakes.  You  never  can  honor 
your  mother  by  saying  that  ignorance  is  blessed  be 
cause  she  did  not  know  everything.  I  want  to 
honor  my  parents  by  finding  out  more  than  they 

There  is  another  thing  that  I  was  a  little  astonish- 

'ed  at — that  Mr.  Coudert,  knowing  that  he  would  be 

in  eternal  felicity  with  his  harp  in  his  hand,  seeing 

me   in    the  world  of  the  damned,  could  yet  grow 

envious  here  to-night  at  my  imaginary  monument. 

And  he  tells  you — this  Catholic — that  Voltaire 
was  an  exceedingly  good  Christian  compared  with 
me.  Do  you  know  I  am  glad  that  I  have  compelled 
a  Catholic — one  who  does  not  believe  he  has  the 
right  to  express  his  honest  thoughts — to  pay  a  com 
pliment  to  Voltaire  simply  because  he  thought  it 
was  at  my  expense  ? 

I  have  an  almost  infinite  admiration  for  Voltaire  ; 
and  when  I  hear  that  name  pronounced,  I  think  of  a 
plume  floating  over  a  mailed  knight — I  think  of  a 
man  that  rode  to  the  beleaguered  City  of  Catholicism 
and  demanded  a  surrender — I  think  of  a  great  man 
who  thrust  the  dagger  of  assassination  into  your 
Mother  Church,  and  from  that  wound  she  never  will 


One  word  more.  This  gentleman  says  that 
children  are  destructive — that  the  first  thing  they  do 
is  to  destroy  their  bibs.  The  gentleman,  I  should 
think  from  his  talk,  has  preserved  his  ! 

They  talk  about  blasphemy.  What  is  blasphemy  ? 
Let  us  be  honest  with  each  other.  Whoever  lives 
upon  the  unpaid  labor  of  others  is  a  blasphemer. 
Whoever  slanders,  maligns,  and  betrays  is  a  blas 
phemer.  Whoever  denies  to  others  the  rights  that 
he  claims  for  himself  is  a  blasphemer. 

Who  is  a  worshiper  ?  One  who  makes  a  happy 
home — one  who  fills  the  lives  of  wife  and  children 
with  sunlight — one  who  has  a  heart  where  the 
flowers  of  kindness  burst  into  blossom  and  fill  the 
air  with  perfume — the  man  who  sits  beside  his  wife, 
prematurely  old  and  wasted,  and  holds  her  thin 
hands  in  his  and  kisses  them  as  passionately  and 
loves  her  as  truly  and  as  rapturously  as  when  she 
was  a  bride — he  is  a  worshiper — that  is  worship. 

And  the  gentleman  brought  forward  as  a  reason 
why  we  should  not  have  free  speech,  that  only  a 
few  years  ago  some  of  the  best  men  in  the  world,  if 
you  said  a  word  in  favor  of  liberty,  would  shoot  you 
down.  What  an  argument  was  that !  They  were 
not  good  men.  They  were  the  whippers  of  women 
and  the  stealers  of  babes — robbers  of  the  trundle- 


bed — assassins  of  human  liberty.  They  knew  no 
better,  but  I  do  not  propose  to  follow  the  example 
of  a  barbarian  because  he  was  honestly  a  barbarian. 

So  much  for  debauching  his  family  by  telling 
them  that  his  precepts  are  false.  If  he  has  taught 
them  as  he  has  taught  us  to-night,  he  has  debauched 
their  minds.  I  would  be  honest  at  the  cradle.  I 
would  not  tell  a  child  anything  as  a  certainty  that  I 
did  not  know.  I  would  be  absolutely  honest. 

But  he  says  that  thought  is  absolutely  free — no 
body  can  control  thought.  Let  me  tell  him  :  Super 
stition  is  the  jailer  of  the  mind.  You  can  so  stuff 
a  child  with  superstition  that  its  poor  little  brain  is  a 
bastile  and  its  poor  little  soul  a  convict.  Fear  is  the 
jailer  of  the  mind,  and  superstition  is  the  assassin  of 

So  when  anybody  goes  into  his  family  and  tells 
these  great  and  shining  truths,  instead  of  debauch 
ing  his  children  they  will  kill  the  snakes  that  crawl 
in  their  cradles.  Let  us  be  honest  and  free. 

And  now,  coming  to  the  second  gentleman.  He 
is  a  Protestant.  The  Catholic  Church  says :  "  Don't 
think ;  pay  your  fare ;  this  is  a  through  ticket,  and 
we  will  look  out  for  your  baggage."  The  Protestant 
Church  says:  "Read  that  Bible  for  yourselves; 
think  for  yourselves ;  but  if  you  do  not  come  to  a 


right  conclusion  you  will  be  eternally  damned." 
Any  sensible  man  will  say,  "  Then  I  won't  read  it — 
I'll  believe  it  without  reading  it."  And  that  is  the 
only  way  you  can  be  sure  you  will  believe  it ;  don't 
read  it. 

Governor  Woodford  says  that  we  are  responsible 
for  our  thoughts.  Why  ?  Could  you  help  thinking 
as  you  did  on  this  subject  ?  No,  Could  you  help 
believing  the  Bible  ?  I  suppose  not.  Could  you 
help  believing  that  story  of  Jonah  ?  Certainly  not — 
it  looks  reasonable  in  Brooklyn. 

I  stated  that  thought  was  the  result  of  the  impres 
sions  of  nature  upon  the  mind  through  the  medium 
of  the  senses.  He  says  you  cannot  have  thought 
without  memory.  How  did  you  get  the  first  one  ? 

Of  course  I  intended  to  be  understood — and  the 
language  is  clear — that  there  could  be  no  thought 
except  through  the  impressions  made  upon  the  brain 
by  nature  through  the  avenues  called  the  senses. 
Take  away  the  senses,  how  would  you  think  then  ? 
If  you  thought  at  all,  I  think  you  would  agree  with 
Mr.  Coudert. 

Now,  I  admit — so  we  need  never  have  a  con 
tradiction  about  it — I  admit  that  every  human  being 
is  responsible  to  the  person  he  injures.  If  he  in 
jures  any  man,  woman,  or  child,  or  any  dog,  or  the 


lowest  animal  that  crawls,  he  is  responsible  to  that 
animal,  to  that  being — in  other  words,  he  is  respon 
sible  to  any  being  that  he  has  injured. 

But  you  cannot  injure  an  infinite  Being,  if  there 
be  one.  I  will  tell  you  why.  You  cannot  help 
him,  and  you  cannot  hurt  him.  If  there  be  an  in 
finite  Being,  he  is  conditionless — he  does  not  want 
anything — he  has  it.  You  cannot  help  anybody 
that  does  not  want  something — you  cannot  help 
him.  You  cannot  hurt  anybody  unless  he  is  a  con 
ditioned  being  and  you  change  his  condition  so  as 
to  inflict  a  harm.  But  if  God  be  conditionless,  you 
cannot  hurt  him,  and  you  cannot  help  him.  So  do 
not  trouble  yourselves  about  the  Infinite.  All  our 
duties  lie  within  reach — all  our  duties  are  right  here  ; 
and  my  religion  is  simply  this  : 

First.  Give  to  every  other  human  being  every 
right  that  you  claim  for  yourself. 

Second.  If  you  tell  your  thought  at  all,  tell  your 
honest  thought.  Do  not  be  a  parrot — do  not  be  an 
instrumentality  for  an  organization.  Tell  your  own 
thought,  honor  bright,  what  you  think. 

My  next  idea  is,  that  the  only  possible  good  in 
the  universe  is  happiness.  The  time  to  be  happy  is 
now.  The  place  to  be  happy  is  here.  The  way  to 
be  happy  is  to  try  and  make  somebody  else  so. 


My  good  friend  General  Woodford — and  he  is  a 
good  man  telling  the  best  he  knows — says  that  I 
will  be  accountable  at  the  bar  up  yonder.  I  am 
ready  to  settle  that  account  now,  and  expect  to  be, 
every  moment  of  my  life — and  when  that  settlement 
comes,  if  it  does  come,  I  do  not  believe  that  a  soli 
tary  being  can  rise  and  say  that  I  ever  injured  him 
or  her. 

But  no  matter  what  they  say.  Let  me  tell  you  a 
story,  how  we  will  settle  if  we  do  get  there. 

You  remember  the  story  told  about  the  Mexican 
who  believed  that  his  country  was  the  only  one  in 
the  world,  and  said  so.  The  priest  told  him  that 
there  was  another  country  where  a  man  lived  who 
was  eleven  or  twelve  feet  high,  that  made  the  whole 
world,  and  if  he  denied  it,  when  that  man  got  hold  of 
him  he  would  not  leave  a  whole  bone  in  his  body. 
But  he  denied  it.  He  was  one  of  those  men  who 
would  not  believe  further  than  his  vision  extended. 

So  one  day  in  his  boat,he  was  rocking  away  when 
the  wind  suddenly  arose  and  he  was  blown  out  of 
sight  of  his  home.  After  several  days  he  was 
blown  so  far  that  he  saw  the  shores  of  another 
country.  Then  he  said,  "  My  Lord  ;  I  am  gone  !  I 
have  been  swearing  all  my  life  that  there  was  no 
other  country,  and  here  it  is  !  "  So  he  did  his  best 


— paddled  with  what  little  strength  he  had  left, 
reached  the  shore,  and  got  out  of  his  boat.  Sure 
enough,  there  came  down  a  man  to  meet  him  about 
twelve  feet  high.  The  poor  little  wretch  was  fright 
ened  almost  to  death,  so  he  said  to  the  tall  man  as 
he  saw  him  coming  down  :  "  Mister,  whoever  you 
are,  I  denied  your  existence — I  did  not  believe  you 
lived  ;  I  swore  there  was  no  such  country  as  this  ; 
but  I  see  I  was  mistaken,  and  I  am  gone.  You  are 
going  to  kill  me,  and  the  quicker  you  do  it  the  bet 
ter  and  get  me  out  of  my  misery.  Do  it  now !" 

The  great  man  just  looked  at  the  little  fellow,  and 
said  nothing,  till  he  asked,  "  What  are  you  going  to 
do  with  me,  because  over  in  that  other  country  I 
denied  your  existence  ?  "  "  What  am  I  going  to  do 
with  you  ?  "  said  the  supposed  God.  "  Now  that  you 
have  got  here,  if  you  behave  yourself  I  am  going  to 
treat  you  well." 




THE  good  part  of  Christmas  is  not  always  Chris 
tian — it  is  generally  Pagan  ;  that    is   to   say, 
human,  natural. 

Christianity  did  not  come  with  tidings  of  great  joy, 
but  with  a  message  of  eternal  grief.  It  came  with 
the  threat  of  everlasting  torture  on  its  lips.  It  meant 
war  on  earth  and  perdition  hereafter. 

It  taught  some  good  things — the  beauty  of  love  and 
kindness  in  man.  But  as  a  torch-bearer,  as  abringer 
of  joy,  it  has  been  a  failure.  It  has  given  infinite 
consequences  to  the  acts  of  finite  beings,  crushing 
the  soul  with  a  responsibility  too  great  for  mortals 
to  bear.  It  has  filled  the  future  with  fear  and  flame, 
and  made  God  the  keeper  of  an  eternal  penitentiary, 
destined  to  be  the  home  of  nearly  all  the  sons  of 
men.  Not  satisfied  with  that,  it  has  deprived  God  of 
the  pardoning  power. 

•  This  is  the  famous  Christmas  Sermon  written  by  Colonel  Ingersoll  and  printed  in 
the  Evening  Telegram,  on  December  19, 1891. 

In  answer  to  this  ' '  Christmas  Sermon ' '  the  Rev.  Dr.  J.  M.  Buckley,  editor  of  the 
Christian  Advocate,  the  recognized  organ  of  the  Methodist  Church,  wrote  an  arti 
cle,  calling  upon  the  public  to  boycott  the  Evening  Telegram  for  publishing  such 
a  "sermon.1' 

This  attack  was  headed  ' '  Lies  That  Are  Mountainous.' '  The  Telegram  promptly 
accepted  the  issue  raised  by  Dr.  Buckley  and  dared  him  to  do  his  utmost.  On  the 
very  same  day  it  published  an  answer  from  Colonel  Ingersoll  that  echoed  through 
out  America.  (263) 


And  yet  it  may  have  done  some  good  by  borrowing 
from  the  Pagan  world  the  old  festival  called  Christmas. 

Long  before  Christ  was  born  the  Sun-God  tri 
umphed  over  the  powers  of  Darkness.  About  the 
time  that  we  call  Christmas  the  days  begin  percepti 
bly  to  lengthen.  Our  barbarian  ancestors  were  wor 
shipers  of  the  sun,  and  they  celebrated  his  victory 
over  the  hosts  of  night.  Such  a  festival  was  natural 
and  beautiful.  The  most  natural  of  all  religions  is 
the  worship  of  the  sun.  Christianity  adopted  this 
festival.  It  borrowed  from  the  Pagans  the  best  it  has. 

I  believe  in  Christmas  and  in  every  day  that  has 
been  set  apart  for  joy.  We  in  America  have  too 
much  work  and  not  enough  play.  We  are  too  much 
like  the  English. 

I  think  it  was  Heinrich  Heine  who  said  that  he 
thought  a  blaspheming  Frenchman  was  a  more  pleas 
ing  object  to  God  than  a  praying  Englishman.  We 
take  our  joys  too  sadly.  I  am  in  favor  of  all  the  good 
free  days — the  more  the  better. 

Christmas  is  a  good  day  to  forgive  and  forget — a 
good  day  to  throw  away  prejudices  and  hatreds — 
a  good  day  to  fill  your  heart  and  your  house,  and  the 
hearts  and  houses  of  others,  with  sunshine. 




WHENEVER  an  orthodox  editor  attacks   an 
unbeliever,  look  out  for   kindness,   charity 
and  love. 

The  gentle  editor  of  the  Christian  Advocate 
charges  me  with  having  written  three  "  gigantic 
falsehoods,"  and  he  points  them  out  as  follows  : 

First — "  Christianity  did  not  come  with  tidings  of 
great  joy;  but  with  a  message  of  eternal  grief." 

Second — "  It  [Christianity]  has  filled  the  future 
with  fear  and  flame,  and  made  God  the  keeper  of 
an  eternal  penitentiary,  destined  to  be  the  home  of 
nearly  all  the  sons  of  men." 

Third — "  Not  satisfied  with  that,  it  [Christianity] 
has  deprived  God  of  the  pardoning  power." 

Now,  let  us  take  up  these  "  gigantic  falsehoods"  in 
their  order  and  see  whether  they  are  in  accord  with 
the  New  Testament  or  not — whether  they  are  sup 
ported  by  the  creed  of  the  Methodist  Church. 

I  insist  that  Christianity  did  not  come  with  tidings 
of  great  joy,  but  with  a  message  of  eternal  grief. 


According  to  the  orthodox  creeds,  Christianity 
came  with  the  tidings  that  the  human  race  was 
totally  depraved,  and  that  all  men  were  in  a  lost  con 
dition,  and  that  all  who  rejected  or  failed  to  believe 
the  new  religion,  would  be  tormented  in  eternal 

These  were  not   "  tidings  of  great  joy." 

If  the  passengers  on  some  great  ship  were  told 
that  the  ship  was  to  be  wrecked,  that  a  few  would 
be  saved  and  that  nearly  all  would  go  to  the  bot 
tom,  would  they  talk  about  "  tidings  of  great  joy  "  ? 
It  is  to  be  presumed  that  Christ  knew  what  his  mis 
sion  was,  and  what  he  came  for.  He  says :  "  Think 
not  that  I  am  come  to  send  peace  on  earth ;  I 
came  not  to  send  peace,  but  a  sword.  For  I  am  come 
to  set  a  man  at  variance  against  his  father,  and  the 
daughter  against  her  mother."  In  my  judgment,  these 
are  not  "tidings  of  great  joy." 

Now,  as  to  the  message  of  eternal  grief: 

"Then  shall  he  say  also  unto  them  on  the  left 
hand,  Depart  from  me,  ye  cursed,  into  everlasting  fire 
prepared  for  the  devil  and  his  angels." 

"And  these  shall  go  away  into  everlasting  pun 
ishment  ;  but  the  righteous  [meaning  the  Methodists] 
into  life  eternal." 

"  He  that  believeth  not  shall  be  damned." 


"  He  that  believeth  not  the  Son  shall  not  see  life ; 
but  the  wrath  of  God  abideth  on  him." 

"  Fear  not  them  which  kill  the  body,  but  are  not 
able  to  kill  the  soul  ;  but  rather  fear  him  which  is  able 
to  destroy  both  soul  and  body  in  hell." 

"And  the  smoke  of  their  torment  ascendeth  up 
forever  and  ever." 

Knowing,  as  we  do,  that  but  few  people  have 
been  believers,  that  during  the  last  eighteen  hundred 
years  not  one  in  a  hundred  has  died  in  the  faith,  and 
that  consequently  nearly  all  the  dead  are  in  hell,  it 
can  truthfully  be  said  that  Christianity  came  with  a 
message  of  eternal  grief. 

Now,  as  to  the  second  "  gigantic  falsehood,"  to  the 
effect  that  Christianity  filled  the  future  with  fear 
and  flame,  and  made  God  the  keeper  of  an  eternal 
penitentiary,  destined  to  be  the  home  of  nearly  all 
the  sons  of  men. 

In  the  Old  Testament  there  is  nothing  about 
punishment  in  some  other  world,  nothing  about  the 
flames  and  torments  of  hell.  When  Jehovah  killed 
one  of  his  enemies  he  was  satisfied.  His  revenge 
was  glutted  when  the  victim  was  dead.  The  Old 
Testament  gave  the  future  to  sleep  and  oblivion. 
But  in  the  New  Testament  we  are  told  that  the 
punishment  in  another  world  is  everlasting,  and  that 


"  the  smoke  of  their  torment  ascendeth  up  forever 
and  ever." 

This  awful  doctrine,  these  frightful  texts,  filled 
the  future  with  fear  and  flame.  Building  on  these 
passages,  the  orthodox  churches  have  constructed  a 
penitentiary,  in  which  nearly  all  the  sons  of  men  are 
to  be  imprisoned  and  tormented  forever,  and  of  this 
prison  God  is  the  keeper.  The  doors  are  opened 
only  to  receive. 

The  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  is  the  infamy 
of  infamies.  As  I  have  often  said,  the  man  who  be 
lieves  in  eternal  torment,  in  the  justice  of  endless 
pain,  is  suffering  from  at  least  two  diseases — petri 
faction  of  the  heart  and  putrefaction  of  the  brain. 

The  next  question  is  whether  Christianity  has 
deprived  God  of  the  pardoning  power. 

The  Methodist  Church  and  every  orthodox  church 
teaches  that  this  life  is  a  period  of  probation  ;  that 
there  is  no  chance  given  for  reformation  after  death  ; 
that  God  gives  no  opportunity  to  repent  in  another 

This  is  the  doctrine  of  the  Christian  world.  If 
this  dogma  be  true,  then  God  will  never  release  a 
soul  from  hell — the  pardoning  power  will  never  be 

How  happy  God  will  be  and  how  happy  all  the 


saved  will  be,  knowing  that  billions  and  billions  of 
his  children,  of  their  fathers,  mothers,  brothers, 
sisters,  wives,  and  children  are  convicts  in  the  eternal 
dungeons,  and  that  the  words  of  pardon  will  never 
be  spoken ! 

Yet  this  is  in  accordance  with  the  promise  con 
tained  in  the  New  Testament,  of  happiness  here  and 
eternal  joy  hereafter,to  those  who  would  desert  breth 
ren  or  sisters,  or  father  or  mother,  or  wife  or  children. 

It  seems  to  me  clear  that  Christianity  did  not 
bring  "  tidings  of  great  joy,"  but  that  it  came  with  a 
"  message  of  eternal  grief" — that  it  did  "  fill  the  future 
with  fear  and  flame,"  that  it  did  make  God  "the 
keeper  of  an  eternal  penitentiary,"  that  the  peniten 
tiary  "  was  destined  to  be  the  home  of  nearly  all  the 
sons  of  men,"  and  that  "  it  deprived  God  of  the  par 
doning  power." 

Of  course  you  can  find  passages  full  of  peace,  in 
the  Bible,  others  of  war — some  filled  with  mercy,  and 
others  cruel  as  the  fangs  of  a  wild  beast. 

According  to  the  Methodists,  God  has  an  eternal 
prison — an  everlasting  Siberia.  There  is  to  be  an 
eternity  of  grief,  of  agony  and  shame. 

What  do  I  think  of  what  the  Doctor  says  about 
the  Telegram  for  having  published  my  Christmas 
sermon  ? 


The  editor  of  the  Christian  Advocate  has  no  idea 
of  what  intellectual  liberty  means.  He  ought  to 
know  that  a  man  should  not  be  insulted  because 
another  man  disagrees  with  him. 

What  right  has  Dr.  Buckley  to  disagree  with 
Cardinal  Gibbons,  and  what  right  has  Cardinal 
Gibbons  to  disagree  with  Dr.  Buckley  ?  The 
same  right  that  I  have  to  disagree  with  them 

I  do  not  warn  people  against  reading  Catholic  or 
Methodist  papers  or  books.  But  I  do  tell  them  to 
investigate  for  themselves — to  stand  by  what  they 
believe  to  be  true,  to  deny  the  false,  and,  above  all 
things,  to  preserve  their  mental  manhood.  The  good 
Doctor  wants  the  Telegram  destroyed — wants  all 
religious  people  to  unite  for  the  purpose  of  punishing 
the  Telegram — because  it  published  something  with 
which  the  reverend  Doctor  does  not  agree,  or  rather 
that  does  not  agree  with  the  Doctor. 

It  is  too  late.  That  day  has  faded  in  the  West  of 
the  past.  The  doctor  of  theology  has  lost  his  power. 
Theological  thunder  has  lost  its  lightning — it  is 
nothing  now  but  noise,  pleasing  those  who  make  it 
and  amusing  those  who  hear. 

The  Telegram  has  nothing  to  fear.  It  is,  in  the 
highest  sense,  a  newspaper — wide-awake,  alive,  al- 


ways  on  time,  good  to  its  friends,  fair  with  its  enemies, 
and  true  to  the  public. 

What  have  I  to  say  to  the  Doctor's  personal 
abuse  ? 

Nothing.  A  man  may  call  me  a  devil,  or  the 
devil,  or  he  may  say  that  I  am  incapable  of  telling 
the  truth,  or  that  I  tell  lies,  and  yet  all  this  proves 
nothing.  My  arguments  remain  unanswered. 

I  cannot  afford  to  call  Dr.  Buckley  names.  I 
have  good  mental  manners.  The  cause  I  represent 
(in  part)  is  too  great,  too  sacred,  to  be  stained  by  an 
ignorant  or  a  malicious  personality. 

I  know  that  men  do  as  they  must  with  the  light 
they  have,  and  so  I  say — More  light ! 




""*HE  Rev.  James  M.  King  —  who  seems  to  have 
A  taken  this  occasion  to  become  known  —  finds 
fault  because  "  blasphemous  utterances  concerning 
Christmas  "  were  published  in  the  Telegram,  and 
were  allowed  "to  greet  the  eyes  of  innocent  chil 
dren  and  pure  women." 

How  is  it  possible  to  blaspheme  a  day  ?  One 
day  is  not,  in  and  of  itself,  holier  than  another  —  that 
is  to  say,  two  equal  spaces  of  time  are  substantially 
alike.  We  call  a  day  "  good  "  or  "  bad  "  according 
to  what  happens  in  the  day.  A  day  filled  with  hap 
piness,  with  kind  words,  with  noble  deeds,  is  a  good 
day.  A  day  filled  with  misfortunes  and  anger  and 
misery  we  call  a  bad  day.  But  how  is  it  possible  to 
blaspheme  a  day  ? 

A  man  may  or  may  not  believe  that  Christ  was 
born  on  the  25th  of  December,  and  yet  he  may  fill 



that  day,  so  far  as  he  is  concerned,  with  good 
thoughts  and  words  and  deeds.  Another  may  really 
believe  that  Christ  was  born  on  that  day,  and  yet  do 
his  worst  to  make  all  his  friends  unhappy.  But  how 
can  the  rights  of  what  are  called  "  clean  families  "  be 
violated  by  reading  the  honest  opinions  of  others  as 
to  whether  Christmas  is  kept  in  honor  of  the  birth  of 
Christ,or  in  honor  of  the  triumph  of  the  sun  over  the 
hosts  of  darkness  ?  Are  Christian  families  so  weak 
intellectually  that  they  cannot  bear  to  hear  the  other 
side  ?  Or  is  their  case  so  weak  that  the  slightest 
evidence  overthrows  it  ?  Why  do  all  these  ministers 
insist  that  it  is  ill-bred  to  even  raise  a  question  as  to 
the  truth  of  the  improbable,  or  as  to  the  improbabil 
ity  of  the  impossible  ? 

A  minister  says  to  me  that  I  am  going  to  hell — 
that  I  am  bound  to  be  punished  forever  and  ever — 
and  thereupon  I  say  to  him  :  "  There  is  no  hell  ; 
you  are  mistaken  ;  your  Bible  is  not  inspired  ;  no 
human  being  is  to  suffer  agony  forever  ;  "  and  there 
upon,  with  an  injured  look,  he  asks  me  this  ques 
tion  :  "  Why  do  you  hurt  my  feelings  ?  "  It  does 
not  occur  to  him  that  I  have  the  slightest  right  to 
object  to  his  sentence  of  eternal  grief. 

Does  the  gentleman  imagine  that  true  men  and 
pure  women  cannot  differ  with  him  ?  There  are 


many  thousands  of  people  who  love  and  honor  the 
memory  of  Jesus  Christ,who  yet  have  not  the  slight 
est  belief  in  his  divine  origin,  and  who  do  not  for 
one  moment  imagine  that  he  was  other  than  a  good 
and  heroic  man.  And  there  are  thousands  of  peo 
ple  who  admire  the  character  of  Jesus  Christ  who  do 
not  believe  that  he  ever  existed — who  admire  the 
character  of  Christ  as  they  admire  Imogen,  or  Per- 
dita,  not  believing  that  any  of  the  characters  men 
tioned  actually  lived. 

And  it  may  be  well  enough  here  to  state  that  no 
human  being  hates  any  really  good  man  or  good 
woman — that  is,  no  human  being  hates  a  man  known 
to  be  good — a  woman  known  to  be  pure  and  good. 
No  human  being  hates  a  lovable  character. 

It  is  perfectly  easy  for  any  one  with  the  slightest 
imagination  to  understand  how  other  people  differ 
from  him.  I  do  not  attribute  a  bad  motive  to  a  man 
simply  because  he  disagrees  with  me.  I  do  not  say 
that  a  man  is  a  Christian  or  a  Mohammedan  "  for 
revenue  only."  I  do  not  say  that  a  man  joins  the 
Democratic  party  simply  for  office,  or  that  he 
marches  with  the  Republicans  simply  for  position.  I 
am  willing  to  hear  his  reasons — with  his  motives  I 
have  nothing  to  do. 

Mr.  King  imagines  that  I  have  denounced  Chris- 


tianity  "  for  revenue  only."  Is  he  willing  to  admit 
that  we  have  drifted  so  far  from  orthodox  religion 
that  the  way  to  make  money  is  to  denounce  Christi 
anity  ?  I  can  hardly  believe,  for  joy,  that  liberty  of 
thought  has  advanced  so  far.  I  regret  exceedingly 
that  there  is  not  an  absolute  foundation  for  his  re 
mark.  I  am  indeed  sorry  that  it  is  possible  in  this 
world  of  ours  for  any  human  being  to  make  a  living 
out  of  the  ignorance  and  fear  of  his  fellow-men. 
Still,  it  gives  me  great  hope  for  the  future  to  read, 
even  in  this  ignorant  present,  that  there  is  one  man, 
and  that  man  myself,  who  advocates  human  liberty 
— the  absolute  enfranchisement  of  the  soul — and  does 
it  "  for  revenue  " — because  this  charge  is  such  a 
splendid  compliment  to  my  fellow-men. 

Possibly  the  remark  of  the  Rev.  Mr.  King  will  be 
gratifying  to  the  Telegram  and  will  satisfy  that 
brave  and  progressive  sheet  that  it  is  in  harmony 
with  the  intelligence  of  the  age. 

My  opinion  is  that  the  Telegram  will  receive  the 
praise  of  enlightened  and  generous  people. 

Personally  I  judge  a  man  not  so  much  by  his  the 
ories  as  by  his  practice,  and  I  would  much  rather 
meet  on  the  desert — were  I  about  to  perish  for  want 
of  water — a  Mohammedan  who  would  give  me  a 
drink  than  a  Christian  who  would  not ;  because, 


after  all  is  said  and  done,  we  are  compelled  to  judge 
people  by  their  actions. 

I  do  not  know  what  takes  place  in  the  invisible 
world  called  the  brain,  inhabited  by  the  invisible 
something  we  call  the  mind.  All  that  takes  place 
there  is  invisible  and  soundless.  This  mind,  hidden 
in  this  brain,  masked  by  flesh,  remains  forever  un 
seen,  and  the  only  evidence  we  can  possibly  have  as 
to  what  occurs  in  that  world,  we  obtain  from  the  ac 
tions  of  the  man,  of  the  woman.  By  these  actions 
we  judge  of  the  character,  of  the  soul.  So  I  make 
up  my  mind  as  to  whether  a  man  is  good  or  bad,  not 
by  his  theories,  but  by  his  actions. 

Under  no  circumstances  can  the  expression  of  an 
honest  opinion,  couched  in  becoming  language, 
amount  to  blasphemy.  And  right  here  it  may  be 
well  enough  to  inquire  :  What  is  blasphemy  ? 

A  man  who  knowingly  assaults  the  true,  who 
knowingly  endeavors  to  stain  the  pure,  who  know 
ingly  maligns  the  good  and  noble,  is  a  blasphemer. 
A  man  who  deserts  the  truth  because  it  is  unpopular 
is  a  blasphemer.  He  who  runs  with  the  hounds 
knowing  that  the  hare  is  in  the  right  is  a  blasphemer. 

In  the  soul  of  every  man,  or  in  the  temple  inhab 
ited  by  the  soul,  there  is  one  niche  in  which  can  be 
found  the  statue  of  the  ideal.  In  the  presence  of 


this  statue  the  good  man  worships—the  bad  man 
blasphemes — that  is  to  say,  he  is  not  true  to  the 

A  man  who  slanders  a  pure  woman  or  an  honest 
man  is  a  blasphemer.  So,  too,  a  man  who  does  not 
give  the  honest  transcript  of  his  mind  is  a  blas 
phemer.  If  a  man  really  thinks  the  character  of 
Jehovah,  as  portrayed  in  the  Old  Testament,  is  good, 
and  he  denounces  Jehovah  as  bad,  he  is  a  blas 
phemer.  If  he  really  believes  that  the  character  of 
Jehovah,  as  portrayed  in  the  Old  Testament,  is  bad, 
and  he  pronounces  it  good,  he  is  a  blasphemer  and 
a  coward. 

All  laws  against  "blasphemy"  have  been  passed 
by  the  numerically  strong  and  intellectually  weak. 
These  laws  have  been  passed  by  those  who,  finding 
no  help  in  logic,  appealed  to  the  legislature. 

Back  of  all  these  superstitions  you  will  find  some 
self-interest.  I  do  not  say  that  this  is  true  in  every 
case,  but  I  do  say  that  if  priests  had  not  been  fond 
of  mutton,  lambs  never  would  have  been  sacrificed 
to  God.  Nothing  was  ever  carried  to  the  temple 
that  the  priest  could  not  use,  and  it  always 'so  hap 
pened  that  God  wanted  what  his  agents  liked. 

Now,  I  will  not  say  that  all  priests  have  been 
priests  "  for  revenue  only,"  but  I  must  say  that  the 


history  of  the  world  tends  to  show  that  the  sacerdo 
tal  class  prefer  revenue  without  religion  to  religion 
without  revenue. 

I  am  much  obliged  to  the  Rev.  Mr.  King  for  ad 
mitting  that  an  infidel  has  a  right  to  publish  his 
views  at  his  own  expense,  and  with  the  utmost 
cheerfulness  I  accord  that  right  to  a  Christian.  The 
only  thing  I  have  ever  objected  to  is  the  publication 
of  his  views  at  the  expense  of  others. 

I  cannot  admit,  however,  that  the  ideas  contained 
in  what  is  known  as  the  Christmas  Sermon  are  "  re 
volting  to  a  vast  majority  of  the  people  who  give 
character  to  the  community  in  which  we  live."  I 
suppose  that  a  very  large  majority  of  men  and 
women  who  disagree  with  me  are  perfectly  satisfied 
that  I  have  the  right  to  disagree  with  them,  and  that 
I  do  not  disagree  with  them  to  any  greater  degree 
than  they  disagree  with  me.  And  I  also  imagine 
that  a  very  large  majority  of  intelligent  people  are 
perfectly  willing  to  hear  the  other  side. 

I  do  not  regard  religious  opinions  or  political 
opinions  as  exotics  that  have  to  be  kept  under  glass, 
protected  from  the  frosts  of  common  sense  or  the 
tyrannous  north  wind  of  logic.  Such  plants  are 
hardly  worth  preserving.  They  certainly  ought  to 
be  hardy  enough  to  stand  the  climate  of  free  discus- 


sion,  and  if  they  cannot,  the  sooner  they  die  the 

I  do  not  think  there  was  anything  blasphemous  or 
impure  in  the  words  published  by  the  Telegram. 
The  most  that  can  possibly  be  said  against  them, 
calculated  to  excite  the  prejudice  of  Christians,  is 
that  they  were  true — that  they  cannot  be  answered 
except  by  abuse. 

It  is  not  possible,  in  this  day  and  generation,  to 
stay  the  rising  flood  of  intellectual  freedom  by  keep 
ing  the  names  of  thinkers  out  of  print.  The  church 
has  had  the  field  for  eighteen  hundred  years.  For 
most  of  this  time  it  has  held  the  sword  and  purse  of 
the  world.  For  many  centuries  it  controlled  colleges 
and  universities  and  schools.  It  had  within  its  gift 
wealth  and  honor.  It  held  the  keys,  so  far  as  this 
world  is  concerned,  of  heaven  and  hell — that  is  to 
say,  of  prosperity  and  misfortune.  It  pursued  its 
enemies  even  to  the  grave.  It  reddened  the  scaffold 
with  the  best  blood,  and  kept  the  sword  of  persecu 
tion  wet  for  many  centuries.  Thousands  and  thou 
sands  have  died  in  its  dungeons.  Millions  of 
reputations  have  been  blasted  by  its  slanders.  It 
has  made  millions  of  widows  and  orphans,  and  it  has 
not  only  ruled  this  world,  but  it  has  pretended  to 
hold  the  keys  of  eternity,  and  under  this  pretence 


it  has  sentenced  countless  millions  to  eternal 

At  last  the  spirit  of  independence  rose  against  its 
monstrous  assumptions.  It  has  been  growing  some 
what  weaker.  It  has  been  for  many  years  gradually 
losing  its  power.  The  sword  of  the  state  belongs 
now  to  the  people.  The  partnership  between  altar 
and  throne  has  in  many  countries  been  dissolved. 
The  adulterous  marriage  of  church  and  state  has 
ceased  to  exist.  Men  are  beginning  to  express  their 
honest  thoughts.  In  the  arena  where  speech  is  free, 
superstition  is  driven  to  the  wall.  Man  relies  more 
and  more  on  the  facts  in  nature,  and  the  real  priest 
is  the  interpreter  of  nature.  The  pulpit  is  losing  its 
power.  In  a  little  while  religion  will  take  its  place 
with  astrology,  with  the  black  art,  and  its  ministers 
will  take  rank  with  magicians  and  sleight-of-hand 

With  regard  to  the  letter  of  the  Rev.  Thomas 
Dixon,  Jr.,  I  have  but  little  to  say. 

I  am  glad  that  he  believes  in  a  free  platform  and  a 
free  press — that  he,  like  Lucretia  Mott,  believes  in 
"truth  for  authority,  and  not  authority  for  truth." 
At  the  same  time  I  do  not  see  how  the  fact  that  I 
am  not  a  scientist  has  the  slightest  bearing  upon  the 
question ;  but  if  there  is  any  fact  that  I  have  avoided 

A    CHRISTMAS    SERMON.  28 1 

or  misstated,  then  I  wish  that  fact  to  be  pointed  out. 
I  admit  also,  that  I  am  a  "  sentimentalist  " — that  is, 
that  I  am  governed,  to  a  certain  extent,  by  sentiment 
— that  my  mind  is  so  that  cruelty  is  revolting1  and 
that  mercy  excites  my  love  and  admiration.  I  admit 
that  I  am  so  much  of"  a  sentimentalist "  that  I  have  no 
love  for  the  Jehovah  of  the  Old  Testament,  and  that 
it  is  impossible  for  me  to  believe  a  creed  that  fills  the 
prison  house  of  hell  with  countless  billions  of  men, 
women  and  children. 

I  am  also  glad  that  the  reverend  gentleman  admits 
that  I  have  "  stabbed  to  the  heart  hundreds  of  super 
stitions  and  lies,"  and  I  hope  to  stab  many,  many 
more,  and  if  I  succeed  in  stabbing  all  lies  to  the  heart 
there  will  be  no  foundation  left  for  what  I  called 
"orthodox"  Christianity — but  goodness  will  survive, 
justice  will  live,  and  the  flower  of  mercy  will  shed 
its  perfume  forever. 

When  we  take  into  consideration  the  fact  that  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Dixon  is  a  minister  and  believes  that  he  is 
called  upon  to  deliver  to  the  people  a  divine  message, 
I  do  not  wonder  that  he  makes  the  following  asser 
tion  :  "  If  God  could  choose  Balaam's  ass  to  speak  a 
divine  message,  I  do  not  see  why  he  could  not  utilize 
the  Colonel."  It  is  natural  for  a  man  to  justify  him 
self  and  to  defend  his  own  occupation.  Mr,  Dixon, 


however,  will  remember  that  the  ass  was  much  su 
perior  to  the  prophet  of  God,  and  that  the  argument 
was  all  on  the  side  of  the  ass.  And,  furthermore, 
that  the  spiritual  discernment  of  the  ass  far  exceeded 
that  of  the  prophet.  It  was  the  ass  who  saw  the 
angel  when  the  prophet's  eye  was  dim.  I  suggest  to 
the  Rev.  Mr.  Dixon  that  he  read  the  account  once 
more,  and  he  will  find — 

First,  that  the  ass  first  saw  the  angel  of  the  Lord  ; 
second,  that  the  prophet  Balaam  was  cruel,  unrea 
sonable,  and  brutal ;  third,  that  the  prophet  so  lost 
his  temper  that  he  wanted  to  kill  the  innocent  ass, 
and  the  ass,  not  losing  her  temper,  reasoned  with  the 
prophet  and  demonstrated  not  only  her  intellectual 
but  her  moral  superiority.  In  addition  to  all  this  the 
angel  of  the  Lord  had  to  open  the  eyes  of  the  prophet 
— in  other  words,  had  to  work  a  miracle — in  order  to 
make  the  prophet  equal  to  the  ass,  and  not  only  so, 
but  rebuked  him  for  his  cruelty.  And  this  same 
angel  admitted  that  without  any  miracle  whatever 
the  ass  saw  him — the  angel — showing  that  the  spirit 
ual  discernment  of  the  ass  in  those  days  was  far  su 
perior  to  that  of  the  prophet. 

I  regret  that  the  Rev.  Mr,  King  loses  his  temper 
and  that  the  Rev.  Mr.  Dixon  is  not  quite  polite. 

All  of  us  should  remember  that  passion  clouds  the 


judgment,  and  that  he  who  seeks  for  victory  loses 
sight  of  the  cause. 

And  there  is  another  thing  :  He  who  has  absolute 
confidence  in  the  justice  of  his  position  can  afford  to 
be  good-natured.  Strength  is  the  foundation  of 
kindness ;  weakness  is  often  malignant,  and  when 
argument  fails  passion  comes  to  the  rescue. 

Let  us  be  good-natured.  Let  us  have  respect  for 
the  rights  of  each  other. 

The  course  pursued  by  the  Telegram  is  worthy  of 
all  praise.  It  has  not  only  been  just  to  both  sides, 
but  it  has  been — as  is  its  custom — true  to  the  public. 



To  the  Editor  of  the  Evening  Telegram  : 

SOME  of  the  gentlemen  who  have  given  their 
ideas  through  the  columns  of  the  Telegram  have 
wandered  from  the  questions  under  discussion.  It 
may  be  well  enough  to  state  what  is  really  in 

I  was  called  to  account  for  having  stated  that 
Christianity  did  not  bring  "  tidings  of  great  joy,"  but 
a  message  of  eternal  grief — that  it  filled  the  future 
with  fear  and  flame — made  God  the  keeper  of  an 
eternal  penitentiary,  in  which  most  of  the  children 
of  men  were  to  be  imprisoned  forever,  and  that,  not 
satisfied  with  that,  it  had  deprived  God  of  the  par 
doning  power. 

These  statements  were  called  "  mountainous  lies  " 
by  the  Rev.  Dr.  Buckley,  and  because  the  Telegram 
had  published  the  "  Christmas  Sermon  "  containing 
these  statements,  he  insisted  that  such  a  paper 



should  not  be  allowed  in  the  families  of  Christians  or 
of  Jews — in  other  words,  that  the  Telegram  should 
be  punished,  and  that  good  people  should  refuse  to 
allow  that  sheet  to  come  into  their  homes. 

It  will  probably  be  admitted  by  all  fair-minded 
people  that  if  the  orthodox  creeds  be  true,  then 
Christianity  was  and  is  the  bearer  of  a  message  of 
eternal  grief,  and  a  large  majority  of  the  human  race 
are  to  become  eternal  convicts,  and  God  has  de 
prived  himself  of  the  pardoning  power.  According 
to  those  creeds,  no  word  of  mercy  to  any  of  the  lost 
can  ever  fall  from  the  lips  of  the  Infinite. 

The  Universalists  deny  that  such  was  or  is  the 
real  message  of  Christianity.  They  insist  that  all 
are  finally  to  be  saved.  If  that  doctrine  be  true, 
then  I  admit  that  Christianity  came  with  "  tidings  of 
great  joy." 

Personally  I  have  no  quarrel  with  the  Univer- 
salist  Church.  I  have  no  quarrel  with  any  creed 
that  expresses  hope  for  all  of  the  human  race.  I 
find  fault  with  no  one  for  filling  the  future  with  joy 
— for  dreaming  splendid  dreams  and  for  uttering 
splendid  prophecies.  I  do  not  object  to  Christianity 
because  it  promises  heaven  to  a  few,  but  because  it 
threatens  the  many  with  perdition. 

It  does  not  seem  possible  to  me  that  a  God  who 


loved  men  to  that  degree  that  he  died  that  they 
might  be  saved,  abandons  his  children  the  moment 
they  are  dead.  It  seems  to  me  that  an  infinite  God 
might  do  something  for  a  soul  after  it  has  reached 
the  other  world. 

Is  it  possible  that  infinite  wisdom  can  do  no  more 
than  is  done  for  a  majority  of  souls  in  this  world  ? 

Think  of  the  millions  born  in  ignorance  and  filth, 
raised  in  poverty  and  crime.  Think  of  the  millions 
who  are  only  partially  developed  in  this  world. 
Think  of  the  weakness  of  the  will,  of  the  power  of 
passion.  Think  of  the  temptations  innumerable. 
Think,  too,  of  the  tyranny  of  man,  of  the  arrogance 
of  wealth  and  position,  of  the  sufferings  of  the  weak 
— and  can  we  then  say  that  an  infinite  God  has  done, 
in  this  world,  all  that  could  be  done  for  the  salvation 
of  his  children  ?  Is  it  not  barely  possible  that  some 
thing  may  be  done  in  another  world  ?  Is  there  noth 
ing  left  for  God  to  do  for  a  poor,  ignorant,  criminal 
human  soul  after  it  leaves  this  world  ?  Can  God  do 
nothing  except  to  pronounce  the  sentence  of  eternal 
pain  ? 

I  insist  that  if  the  orthodox  creed  be  true,  Christi 
anity  did  not  come  with  "tidings  of  great  joy,"  but 
that  its  message  was  and  is  one  of  eternal  grief. 

If  the  orthodox  creed  be  true,  the  universe  is  a 


vast  blunder — an  infinite  crime.  Better,  a  thousand 
times,  that  every  pulse  of  life  should  cease — better 
that  all  the  gods  should  fall  palsied  from  their 
thrones,  than  that  the  creed  of  Christendom  should 
be  true. 

There  is  another  question  and  that  involves  the 
freedom  of  the  press. 

The  Telegram  has  acted  with  the  utmost  fairness 
and  with  the  highest  courage.  After  all,  the  Amer 
ican  people  admire  the  man  who  takes  his  stand  and 
bravely  meets  all  comers.  To  be  an  instrumentality 
of  progress,  the  press  must  be  free.  Only  the  free 
can  carry  a  torch.  Liberty  sheds  light. 

The  editor  or  manager  of  a  newspaper  occupies  a 
public  position,  and  he  must  not  treat  his  patrons  as 
though  they  were  weak  and  ignorant  children.  He 
must  not,  in  the  supposed  interest  of  any  ism,  sup 
press  the  truth — neither  must  he  be  dictated  to  by 
any  church  or  any  society  of  believers  or  unbelievers. 
The  Telegram,  by  its  course,  has  given  a  certifi 
cate  of  its  manliness,  and  the  public,  by  its  course, 
has  certified  that  it  appreciates  true  courage. 

All  Christians  should  remember  that  facts  are  not 
sectarian,  and  that  the  sciences  are  not  bound  by  the 
creeds.  We  should  remember  that  there  are  no 
such  things  as  Methodist  mathematics,  or  Baptist 


botany,   or   Catholic    chemistry.     The   sciences  are 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Peters  seems  to  have  mistaken  the 
issues — and  yet,  in  some  things,  I  agree  with  him. 
He  is  certainly  right  when  he  says  that  "  Mr.  Buck 
ley's  cry  to  boycott  the  Telegram  is  unmanly  and  un- 
American,"  but  I  am  not  certain  that  he  is  right 
.when  he  says  that  it  is  un-Christian. 

The  church  has  not  been  in  the  habit  of  pursuing 
enemies  with  kind  words  and  charitable  deeds.  To 
tell  the  truth,  it  has  always  been  rather  relentless. 
It  has  preached  forgiveness,  but  it  has  never  for 
given.  There  is  in  the  history  of  Christendom  no 
instance  where  the  church  has  extended  the  hand  of 
friendship  to  a  man  who  denied  the  truth  of  its  creed. 

There  is  in  the  church  no  spirit — no  climate — of 
compromise.  In  the  nature  of  things  there  can  be 
none,  because  the  church  claims  that  it  is  absolutely 
right — that  there  is  only  one  road  leading  to  heaven. 
It  demands  unconditional  surrender.  It  will  not 
bear  contradiction.  It  claims  to  have  the  absolute 
truth.  For  these  reasons  it  cannot  consistently  com 
promise,  any  more  than  a  mathematician  could 
change  the  multiplication  table  to  meet  the  view  of 
some  one  who  should  deny  that  five  times  five  are 


The  church  does  not  give  its  opinion — it  claims  to 
know — it  demands  belief.  Honesty,  industry,  gen 
erosity  count  for  nothing  in  the  absence  of  belief. 
It  has  taught  and  still  teaches  that  no  man  can 
reach  heaven  simply  through  good  and  honest  deeds. 
It  believes  and  teaches  that  the  man  who  relies  upon 
himself  will  be  eternally  punished — and  why  should 
the  church  forgive  a  man  whom  it  thinks  its  God  is 
waiting  somewhat  impatiently  to  damn  ? 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Peters  asks — and  probably  honestly 
thinks  that  the  questions  are  pertinent  to  the  issues 
involved — "  What  has  infidelity  done  for  the  world  ? 
What  colleges,  hospitals,  and  schools  has  it  founded  ? 
What  has  it  done  for  the  elevation  of  public  morals  ?" 
And  he  inquires  what  science  or  art  has  been  orig 
inated  by  infidelity.  He  asks  how  many  slaves  it 
has  liberated,  how  many  inebriates  it  has  reclaimed, 
how  many  fallen  women  it  has  restored,  and  what  it 
did  for  the  relief  of  the  wounded  and  dying  soldiers  ; 
and  concludes  by  asking  what  life  it  ever  assisted  to 
higher  holiness,  and  what  death  it  has  evei'  cheered. 

Although  these  questions  have  nothing  whatever 
to  do  with  the  matters  under  discussion,  still  it  may 
be  well  enough  to  answer  them. 

It  is  cheerfully  admitted  that  hospitals  and  asy 
lums  have  been  built  by  Christians  in  Christian 


countries,  and  it  is  also  admitted  that  hospitals  and 
asylums  have  been  built  in  countries  not  Christian  ; 
that  there  were  such  institutions  in  China  thousands 
of  years  before  Christ  was  born,  and  that  many 
centuries  before  the  establishment  of  any  orthodox 
church  there  were  asylums  on  the  banks  of  the 
Nile — asylums  for  the  old,  the  poor,  the  infirm — asy 
lums  for  the  blind  and  for  the  insane,  and  that  the 
Egyptians,  even  of  those  days,  endeavored  to  cure 
insanity  with  kindness  and  affection.  The  same  is 
true  of  India  and  probably  of  most  ancient  nations. 

There  has  always  been  more  or  less  humanity  in 
man — more  or  less  goodness  in  the  human  heart. 
So  far  as  we  know,  mothers  have  always  loved  their 
children.  There  must  always  have  been  more  good 
than  evil,  otherwise  the  human  race  would  have 
perished.  The  best  things  in  the  Christian  religion 
came  from  the  heart  of  man.  Pagan  lips  uttered 
the  sublimest  of  truths,  and  all  ages  have  been  re 
deemed  by  honesty,  heroism,  and  love. 

But  let  me  answer  these  questions  in  their  order. 

First — As  to  the  schools. 

It  is  most  cheerfully  admitted  that  the  Catholics 
have  always  been  in  favor  of  education — that  is  to 
say,  of  education  enough  to  make  a  Catholic  out  of 
a  heathen.  It  is  also  admitted  that  Protestants  have 


always  been  in  favor  of  enough  education  to  make  a 
Protestant   out  of  a   Catholic.     Many  schools  and 
many  colleges  have  been  established  for  the  spread 
of  what  is  called  the  Gospel  and  for  the  education  of 
the  clergy.     Presbyterians  have  founded  schools  for 
the  benefit  of  their  creed.     The  Methodists  have  es 
tablished  colleges  for  the  purpose  of  making  Meth 
odists.     The  same  is  true  of  nearly  all  the  sects.    As 
a  matter  of  fact,  these  schools  have  in  many  import 
ant   directions    hindered    rather   than    helped    the 
cause  of  real  education.     The  pupils  were  not  taught 
to  investigate  for  themselves.     They  were  not  al 
lowed   to  think.     They   were  told  that  thought  is 
dangerous.     They   were  stuffed  and  crammed  with 
creeds — with  the  ideas  of  others.     Their  credulity 
was  applauded  and  their  curiosity  condemned.     If 
all  the  people  had  been  educated  in  these  sectarian 
schools,  all  the  people   would  have  been  far  more 
ignorant  than  they  are.     These  schools  have  been, 
and  most  of  them  still  are,  the  enemies  of  higher 
education,  and  just  to  the  extenc  that  they  are  under 
the  control  of  theologians  they  are  hindrances,  and 
just  to  the  extent  that  they  have  become  secularized 
they  have  been  and  are  a  benefit. 

Our  public-school  system  is  not  Christian.     It  is 
secular.     Yet  I  admit  that  it  never  could  have  been 


established  without  the  assistance  of  Christians — 
neither  could  it  have  been  supported  without  the  as 
sistance  of  others.  But  such  is  the  value  placed 
upon  education  that  people  of  nearly  all  denomina 
tions,  and  of  nearly  all  religions,  and  of  nearly  all 
opinions,  for  the  most  part  agree  that  the  children  of 
a  nation  should  be  educated  by  the  nation.  Some 
religious  people  are  opposed  to  these  schools  be 
cause  they  are  not  religious — because  they  do  not 
teach  some  creed — but  a  large  majority  of  the  peo 
ple  stand  by  the  public  schools  as  they  are.  These 
schools  are  growing  better  and  better,  simply  be 
cause  they  are  growing  less  and  less  theological, 
more  and  more  secular. 

Infidelity,  or  agnosticism,  or  free  thought,  has  in 
sisted  that  only  that  should  be  taught  in  schools 
which  somebody  knows  or  has  good  reason  to 

The  greatest  professors  in  our  colleges  to-day  are 
those  who  have  the  least  confidence  in  the  super 
natural,  and  the  schools  that  stand  highest  in  the 
estimation  of  the  most  intelligent  are  those  that  have 
drifted  farthest  from  the  orthodox  creeds.  Free 
thought  has  always  been  and  ever  must  be  the 
friend  of  education.  Without  free  thought  there 
can  be  no  such  thing — in  the  highest  sense — as  a 


school.  Unless  the  mind  is  free,  there  are  no 
teachers  and  there  are  no  pupils,  in  any  just  and 
splendid  sense. 

The  church  has  been  and  still  is  the  enemy  of 
education,  because  it  has  been  in  favor  of  intellect 
ual  slavery,  and  the  theological  schools  have  been 
what  might  be  called  the  deformatories  of  the  human 

For  instance  :  A  man  is  graduated  from  an  ortho 
dox  university.  In  this  university  he  has  studied 
astronomy,  and  yet  he  believes  that  Joshua  stopped 
the  sun.  He  has  studied  geology,  and  yet  he  asserts 
the  truth  of  the  Mosaic  cosmogony.  He  has  studied 
chemistry,  and  yet  believes  that  water  was  turned 
into  wine.  He  has  been  taught  the  ordinary  theory 
of  cause  and  effect,  and  at  the  same  time  he  thor 
oughly  believes  in  the  miraculous  multiplication  of 
loaves  and  fishes.  Can  such  an  institution,  with  any 
propriety,  be  called  a  seat  of  learning  ?  Can  we  not 
say  of  such  a  university  what  Bruno  said  of  Oxford  : 
"  Learning  is  dead  and  Oxford  is  its  widow." 

Year  after  year  the  religious  colleges  are  improv 
ing — simply  because  they  are  becoming  more  and 
more  secular,  less  and  less  theological.  Whether  in 
fidelity  has  founded  universities  or  not,  it  can  truth 
fully  be  said  that  the  spirit  of  investigation,  the  spirit 


of  free  thought,  the  attitude  of  mental  independence, 
contended  for  by  those  who  are  called  infidels,  have 
made  schools  useful  instead  of  hurtful. 

Can  it  be  shown  that  any  infidel  has  ever  raised 
his  voice  against  education  ?  Can  there  be  found  in 
the  literature  of  free  thought  one  line  against  the  en 
lightenment  of  the  human  race?  Has  free  thought 
ever  endeavored  to  hide  or  distort  a  fact  ?  Has  it 
not  always  appealed  to  the  senses — to  demonstration  ? 
It  has  not  said,  "  He  that  hath  ears  to  hear,  let  him 
hear  ;"  but  it  has  said,  "  He  that  hath  brains  to  think, 
let  him  think." 

The  object  of  a  school  should  be  to  ascertain  truth 
in  every  direction,  to  the  end  that  man  may  know 
the  conditions  of  happiness — and  every  school  should 
be  absolutely  free.  No  teacher  should  be  bound  by 
anything  except  a  perceived  fact.  He  should  not  be 
the  slave  of  a  creed,  engaged  in  the  business  of  en 
slaving  others. 

So  much  for  schools. 

Second — As  to  public  morals. 

Christianity  teaches  that  all  offences  can  be  for 
given.  Every  church  unconsciously  allows  people  to 
commit  crimes  on  a  credit.  I  do  not  mean  by  this 
that  any  church  consciously  advocates  immorality. 
I  most  cheerfully  admit  that  thousands  and  thousands 


of  ministers  are  endeavoring  to  do  good — that  they 
are  pure,  self-denying  men,  trying  to  make  this  world 
better.  But  there  is  a  frightful  defect  in  their  phi 
losophy.  They  say  to  the  bank  cashier  :  You  must 
not  steal,  you  must  not  take  a  dollar — larceny  is 
wrong,  it  is  contrary  to  all  law,  human  and  divine — 
but  if  you  do  steal  every  cent  in  the  bank, God  will 
as  gladly,  quickly  forgive  you  in  Canada  as  he  will 
in  the  United  States.  On  the  other  hand,  what  is 
called  infidelity  says  :  There  is  no  being  in  the  uni 
verse  who  rewards,  and  there  is  no  being  who  pun 
ishes — every  act  has  its  consequences.  If  the  act  is 
good,  the  consequences  are  good  ;  if  the  act  is  bad, 
the  consequences  are  bad ;  and  these  consequences 
must  be  borne  by  the  actor.  It  says  to  every  human 
being  :  You  must  reap  what  you  sow.  There  is  no 
reward,  there  is  no  punishment,  but  there  are  conse 
quences,  and  these  consequences  are  the  invisible  and 
implacable  police  of  nature.  They  cannot  be  avoided. 
They  cannot  be  bribed.  No  power  can  awe  them, 
and  there  is  not  gold  enough  in  the  world  to  make 
them  pause.  Even  a  God  cannot  induce  them  to  re 
lease  for  one  instant  their  victim. 

This  great  truth  is,  in  my  judgment,  the  gospel  of 
morality.  If  all  men  knew  that  they  must  inevi 
tably  b«ar  the  consequences  of  their  own  actions — if 


they  absolutely  knew  that  they  could  not  injure  an 
other  without  injuring  themselves,  the  world,  in  my 
judgment,  would  be  far  better  than  it  is. 

Free  thought  has  attacked  the  morality  of  what  is 
called  the  atonement.  The  innocent  should  not  suffer 
for  the  guilty,  and  if  the  innocent  does  suffer  for  the 
guilty,  that  cannot  by  any  possibility  justify  the 
guilty.  The  reason  a  thing  is  wrong  is  because  it, 
in  some  way,  causes  the  innocent  to  suffer.  This 
being  the  very  essence  of  wrong,  how  can  the  suffer 
ing  of  innocence  justify  the  guilty  ?  If  there  be  a 
world  of  joy,  he  who  is  worthy  to  enter  that  world 
must  be  willing  to  carry  his  own  burdens  in  this. 

So  much  for  morality. 

Third — As  to  sciences  and  art. 

I  do  not  believe  that  we  are  indebted  to  Christi 
anity  for  any  science.  I  do  not  remember  that  one 
science  is  mentioned  in  the  New  Testament.  There 
is  not  one  word,  so  far  as  I  remember,  about  educa 
tion — nothing  about  any  science,  nothing  about  art. 
The  writers  of  the  New  Testament  seem  to  have 
thought  that  the  world  was  about  coming  to  an  end. 
This  world  was  to  be  sacrificed  absolutely  to  the  next. 
The  affairs  of  this  life  were  not  worth  speaking  of. 
All  people  were  exhorted  to  prepare  at  once  for  the 
other  life. 


The  sciences  have  advanced  in  the  proportion  that 
they  did  not  interfere  with  orthodox  theology.  To 
the  extent  that  they  were  supposed  to  interfere  with 
theology  they  have  been  obstructed  and  denounced. 
Astronomy  was  found  to  be  inconsistent  with  the 
Scriptures,  and  the  astronomers  were  imprisoned  and 
despised.  Geology  contradicted  the  Mosaic  account, 
and  the  geologists  were  denounced  and  persecuted. 
Every  step  taken  in  astronomy  was  taken  in  spite  of 
the  church,  and  every  fact  in  geology  had  to  fight  its 
way.  The  same  is  true  as  to  the  science  of  medicine. 
The  church  wished  to  cure  disease  by  necromancy, 
by  charm  and  prayer,  and  with  the  bones  of  the 
saints.  The  church  wished  man  to  rely  entirely 
upon  God — that  is  to  say,  upon  the  church — and  not 
upon  himself.  The  physician  interfered  with  the 
power  and  prosperity  of  the  priest,  and  those  who 
appealed  to  physicians  were  denounced  as  lacking 
faith  in  God.  This  state  of  things  existed  even  in 
the  Old  Testament  times.  A  king  failed  to  send  for 
the  prophets,  but  sent  for  a  physician,  and  then 
comes  this  piece  of  grim  humor  :  "  And  Asa  slept 
with  his  fathers." 

The  great  names  in  science  are  not  those  of 
recognized  saints. 

BRUNO — one  of  the  greatest  and  bravest  of  men — 


greatest  of  all  martyrs — perished  at  the  stake,  be 
cause  he  insisted  on  the  existence  of  other  worlds 
and  taught  the  astronomy  of  Galileo. 

HUMBOLDT — in  some  respects  the  wisest  man 
known  to  the  scientific  world — denied  the  existence 
of  the  supernatural  and  "  the  truths  of  revealed  re 
ligion,"  and  yet  he  revolutionized  the  thought  of  his 
day  and  left  a  legacy  of  intellectual  glory  to  the  race. 

DARWIN — greatest  of  scientists — so  great  that  our 
time  will  probably  be  known  as  "  Darwin's  Century  " 
— had  not  the  slightest  confidence  in  any  possible 
phase  of  the  so-called  supernatural.  This  great  man 
left  the  creed  of  Christendom  without  a  foundation. 
He  brought  as  witnesses  against  the  inspiration  of 
the  Scriptures  such  a  multitude  of  facts,  such  an  over 
whelming  amount  of  testimony,  that  it  seems  im 
possible  to  me  that  any  unprejudiced  man  can,  after 
hearing  the  testimony,  remain  a  believer  in  evangeli 
cal  religion.  He  accomplished  more  than  all  the 
schools,  colleges,  and  universities  that  Christianity 
has  founded.  He  revolutionized  the  philosophy  of 
the  civilized  world. 

The  writers  who  have  done  most  for  science  have 
been  the  most  bitterly  opposed  by  the  church. 
There  is  hardly  a  valuable  book  in  the  libraries  of 
the  world  that  cannot  be  found  on  the  "  Index  Ex- 


purgatorius."  Kant  and  Fichte  and  Spinoza  were 
far  above  and  beyond  the  orthodox  world.  Voltaire 
did  more  for  freedom  than  any  other  man,  and  yet 
the  church  denounced  him  with  a  fury  amounting  to 
insanity — called  him  an  atheist,  although  he  believed 
not  only  in  God,  but  in  special  providence.  He 
was  opposed  to  the  church — that  is  to  say,  opposed 
to  slavery,  and  for  that  reason  he  was  despised. 

And  what  shall  I  say  of  D'Holbach,  of  Hume,  of 
Buckle,  of  Draper,  of  Haeckel,  of  Biichner,  of  Tyn- 
dall  and  Huxley,  of  Auguste  Comte,  and  hundreds 
and  thousands  of  others  who  have  filled  the  scien 
tific  world  with  light  and  the  heart  of  man  with  love 
and  kindness  ? 

It  may  be  well  enough,  in  regard  to  art,  to  say 
that  Christianity  is  indebted  to  Greece  and  Rome 
for  its  highest  conceptions,  and  it  may  be  well  to  add 
that  fcr  many  centuries  Christianity  did  the  best  it 
could  to  destroy  the  priceless  marbles  of  Greece  and 
Rome.  A  few  were  buried,  and  in  that  way  were 
saved  from  Christian  fury. 

The  same  is  true  of  the  literature  of  the  classic 
world.  A  few  fragments  were  rescued,  and  these 
became  the  seeds  of  modern  literature.  A  few 
statues  were  preserved,  and  they  are  to-day  models 
for  all  the  world. 


Of  course  it  will  be  admitted  that  there  is  much 
art  in  Christian  lands,  because,  in  spite  of  the  creeds, 
Christians,  so-called,  have  turned  their  attention  to 
this  world.  They  have  beautified  their  homes,  they 
have  endeavored  to  clothe  themselves  in  purple  and 
fine  linen.  They  have  been  forced  from  banquets 
or  from  luxury  by  the  difficulty  of  camels  going 
through  the  eyes  of  needles  or  the  impossibility  of 
carrying  water  to  the  rich  man.  They  have  culti 
vated  this  world,  and  the  arts  have  lived.  Did  they 
obey  the  precepts  that  they  find  in  their  sacred 
writings  there  would  be  no  art,  they  would  ' '  take  no 
thought  for  the  morrow,"  they  would  "  consider  the 
lilies  of  the  field." 

Fourth — As  to  the  liberation  of  slaves. 

It  was  exceedingly  unfortunate  for  the  Rev.  Mr. 
Peters  that  he  spoke  of  slavery.  The  Bible  upholds 
human  slavery — white  slavery.  The  Bible  was 
quoted  by  all  slaveholders  and  slave-traders.  The 
man  who  went  to  Africa  to  steal  women  and  children 
took  the  Bible  with  him.  He  planted  himself  firmly 
on  the  Word  of  God.  As  Whittier  says  of  White- 
field  : 

"  He  bade  the  slave  ship  speed  from  coast  to  coast, 
Fanned  by  the  wings  of  the  Holy  Ghost." 

So  when  the  poor  wretches  were  sold  to  the  plant- 


ers,  the  planters  defended  their  action  by  reading 
the  Bible.  When  a  poor  woman  was  sold,  her  chil 
dren  torn  from  her  breast,  the  auction  block  on  which 
she  stood  was  the  Bible  ;  the  auctioneer  who  sold  her 
quoted  the  Scriptures  ;  the  man  who  bought  her  re 
peated  the  quotations,  and  the  ministers  from  the 
pulpit  said  to  the  weeping  woman,  as  her  child  was 
carried  away  :  "  Servants,  be  obedient  unto  your 

Freethinkers  in  all  ages  have  been  opposed  to 
slavery.  Thomas  Paine  did  more  for  human  liberty 
than  any  other  man  who  ever  stood  upon  the  west 
ern  world.  The  first  article  he  ever  wrote  in  this 
country  was  one  against  the  institution  of  slavery. 
Freethinkers  have  also  been  in  favor  of  free  bodies. 
Freethinkers  have  always  said  "  free  hands,"  and  the 
infidels,  the  wide  world  over,  have  been  friends  of 

Fifth— As  to  the  reclamation  of  inebriates. 

Much  has  been  said,  and  for  many  years,  on  the 
subject  of  temperance — much  has  been  uttered  by 
priests  and  laymen — and  yet  there  seems  to  be  a 
subtle  relation  between  rum  and  religion.  Scotland 
is  extremely  orthodox,  yet  it  is  not  extremely  temper 
ate.  England  is  nothing  if  not  religious,  and  London 
is,  par  excellence,  the  Christian  city  of  the  world,  and 


yet  it  is  the  most  intemperate.     The  Mohammedans 
— followers  of  a  false  prophet — do  not  drink. 

Sixth — As  to  the  humanity  of  infidelity. 

Can  it  be  said  that  people  have  cared  for  the 
wounded  and  dying  only  because  they  were  orthodox? 

Is  it  not  true  that  religion,  in  its  efforts  to  prop 
agate  the  creed  of  forgiveness  by  the  sword,  has 
caused  the  death  of  more  than  one  hundred  and  fifty 
millions  of  human  beings  ?  Is  it  not  true  that  where 
the  church  has  cared  for  one  orphan  it  has  created 
hundreds  ?  Can  Christianity  afford  to  speak  of  war  ? 

The  Christian  nations  of  the  world  to-day  are 
armed  against  each  other.  In  Europe,  all  that  can 
be  gathered  by  taxation — all  that  can  be  borrowed  by 
pledging  the  prosperity  of  the  future — the  labor  of 
those  yet  unborn — is  used  for  the  purpose  of  keeping 
Christians  in  the  field,  to  the  end  that  they  may  de 
stroy  other  Christians,  or  at  least  prevent  other  Chris 
tians  from  destroying  them.  Europe  is  covered  with 
churches  and  fortifications,  with  temples  and  with 
forts — hundreds  of  thousands  of  priests,  millions  of 
soldiers,  countless  Bibles  and  countless  bayonets — 
and  that  whole  country  is  oppressed  and  imooverished 
for  the  purpose  of  carrying  on  war.  The  people  have 
become  deformed  by  labor,  and  yet  Christianity 
boasts  of  peace. 


Seventh — "  And  what  death  has  infidelity  ever 
cheered  ?" 

Is  it  possible  for  the  orthodox  Christian  to  cheer 
the  dying  when  the  dying  is  told  that  there  is  a 
world  of  eternal  pain,  and  that  he,  unless  he  has  been 
forgiven,  is  to  be  an  eternal  convict  ?  Will  it  cheer 
him  to  know  that,  even  if  he  is  to  be  saved,  countless 
millions  are  to  be  lost  ?  Is  it  possible  for  the  Chris 
tian  religion  to  put  a  smile  upon  the  face  of  death  ? 

On  the  other  hand,  what  is  called  infidelity  says  to 
the  dying  :  What  happens  to  you  will  happen  to  all. 
If  there  be  another  world  of  joy,  it  is  for  all.  If 
there  is  another  life,  every  human  being  will  have 
the  eternal  opportunity  of  doing  ri^ht — the  eternal 
opportunity  to  live,  to  reform,  to  enjoy.  There  is  no 
monster  in  the  sky.  There  is  no  Moloch  who  de 
lights  in  the  agony  of  his  children.  These  frightful 
things  are  savage  dreams. 

Infidelity  puts  out  the  fires  of  hell  with  the  tears  of 

Infidelity  puts  the  seven-hued  arch  of  Hope  over 

every  grave. 

Let  us  then,  gentlemen,  come  back  to  the  real 
questions  under  discussion.  Let  us  not  wander  away, 

Jariy  g,  1891. 



NO  one  objects  to  the  morality  of  Christianity. 
The  industrious  people  of  the  world — those 
who  have  anything — are,  as  a  rule,  opposed  to  lar 
ceny  ;  a  very  large  majority  of  people  object  to  be 
ing  murdered,  and  so  we  have  laws  against  larceny 
and  murder.  A  large  majority  of  people  believe  in 
what  they  call,  or  what  they  understand  to  be,  justice 
— at  least  as  between  others.  There  is  no  very 
great  difference  of  opinion  among  civilized  people  as 
to  what  is  or  is  not  moral. 

It  cannot  truthfully  be  said  that  the  man  who  attacks 
Buddhism  attacks  all  morality.  He  does  not  attack 
goodness,  justice,  mercy,  or  anything  that  tends  in 
his  judgment  to  the  welfare  of  mankind  ;  but  he  at 
tacks  Buddhism.  So  one  attacking  what  is  called 
Christianity  does  not  attack  kindness,  charity,  or  any 
virtue.  He  attacks  something  that  has  been  added 



to  the  virtues.  He  does  not  attack  the  flower,  but 
what  he  believes  to  be  the  parasite. 

If  people,  when  they  speak  of  Christianity,  include 
the  virtues  common  to  all  religions,  they  should  not 
give  Christianity  credit  for  all  the  good  that  has  been 
done.  There  were  millions  of  virtuous  men  and 
women,  millions  of  heroic  and  self-denying  souls 
before  Christianity  was  known. 

It  does  not  seen  possible  to  me  that  love,  kind 
ness,  justice,  or  charity  ever  caused  any  one  who 
possessed  and  practiced  these  virtues  to  persecute 
his  fellow-man  on  account  of  a  difference  of  belief. 
If  Christianity  has  persecuted,  some  reason  must 
exist  outside  of  the  virtues  it  has  inculcated.  If  this 
reason — this  cause — is  inherent  in  that  something 
else,  which  has  been  added  to  the  ordinary  virtues, 
then  Christianity  can  properly  be  held  accountable 
for  the  persecution.  Of  course  back  of  Christianity 
is  the  nature  of  man,  and,  primarily,  it  may  be 

Is  there  anything  in  Christianity  that  will  account 
for  such  persecutions — for  the  Inquisition  ?  It  cer 
tainly  was  taught  by  the  church  that  belief  was 
necessary  to  salvation,  and  it  was  thought  at  the  same 
time  that  the  fate  of  man  was  eternal  punishment ; 
that  the  state  of  man  was  that  of  depravity,  and  that 


there  was  but  one  way  by  which  he  could  be  saved, 
and  that  was  through  belief — through  faith.  As 
long  as  this  was  honestly  believed,  Christians  would 
not  allow  heretics  or  infidels  to  preach  a  doctrine  to 
their  wives,  to  their  children,  or  to  themselves 
which,  in  their  judgment,  would  result  in  the  dam 
nation  of  souls. 

The  law  gives  a  father  the  right  to  kill  one  who  is 
about  to  do  great  bodily  harm  to  his  son.  Now,  if 
a  father  has  the  right  to  take  the  life  of  a  man 
simply  because  he  is  attacking  the  body  of  his  son, 
how  much  more  would  he  have  the  right  to  take  the 
life  of  one  who  was  about  to  assassinate  the  soul  of 
his  son  ! 

Christians  reasoned  in  this  way.  In  addition  to 
this,  they  felt  that  God  would  hold  the  community 
responsible  if  the  community  allowed  a  blasphemer 
to  attack  the  true  religion.  Therefore  they  killed 
the  freethinker,  or  rather  the  free  talker,  in  self-de 

At  the  bottom  of  religious  persecution  is  the 
doctrine  of  self-defence  ;  that  is  to  say,  the  defence 
of  the  soul.  If  the  founder  of  Christianity  had 
plainly  said  :  "  It  is  not  necessary  to  believe  in 
order  to  be  saved  ;  it  is  only  necessary  to  do,  and 
he  who  really  loves  his  fellow-men,  who  is  kind, 


honest,  just  and  charitable,  is  to  be  forever  blest " — 
if  he  had  only  said  that,  there  would  probably  have 
been  but  little  persecution. 

If  he  had  added  to  this  :  "  You  must  not  perse 
cute  in  my  name.  The  religion  I  teach  is  the  Re 
ligion  of  Love — not  the  Religion  of  Force  and 
Hatred.  You  must  not  imprison  your  fellow-men. 
You  must  not  stretch  them  upon  racks,  or  crush 
their  bones  in  iron  boots.  You  must  not  flay  them 
alive.  You  must  not  cut  off  their  eyelids,  or  pour 
molten  lead  into  their  ears.  You  must  treat  all 
with  absolute  kindness.  If  you  cannot  convert 
your  neighbor  by  example,  persuasion,  argument, 
that  is  the  end.  You  must  never  resort  to  force, 
and,  whether  he  believes  as  you  do  or  not,  treat  him 
always  with  kindness" — his  followers  then  would  not 
have  murdered  their  fellows  in  his  name. 

If  Christ  was  in  fact  God,  he  knew  the  persecu 
tions  that  would  be  carried  on  in  his  name  ;  he 
knew  the  millions  that  would  suffer  death  through 
torture  ;  and  yet  he  died  without  saying  one  word 
to  prevent  what  he  must  have  known,  if  he  were 
God,  would  happen. 

All  that  Christianity  has  added  to  morality  is 
worthless  and  useless.  Not  only  so — it  has  been 
hurtful.  Take  Christianity  from  morality  and  the 


useful  is  left,  but  take  morality  from  Christianity  and 
the  useless  remains. 

Now,  falling  back  on  the  old  assertion,  "  By  its 
fruits  we  may  know  Christianity,"  then  I  think  we 
are  justified  in  saying  that,  as  Christianity  consists 
of  a  mixture  of  morality  and  something  else,  and  as 
morality  never  has  persecuted  a  human  being,  and  as 
Christianity  has  persecuted  millions,  the  cause  of  the 
persecution  must  be  the  something  else  that  was  added 
to  morality. 

I  cannot  agree  with  the  reverend  gentleman  when 
he  says  that  "  Christianity  has  taught  mankind  the 
priceless  value  and  dignity  of  human  nature."  On 
the  other  hand,  Christianity  has  taught  that  the  whole 
human  race  is  by  nature  depraved,  and  that  if  God 
should  act  in  accordance  with  his  sense  of  justice,  all 
the  sons  of  men  would  be  doomed  to  eternal  pain. 
Human  nature  has  been  derided,  has  been  held  up  to 
contempt  and  scorn,  all  our  desires  and  passions  de 
nounced  as  wicked  and  filthy. 

Dr.  Da  Costa  asserts  that  Christianity  has  taught 
mankind  the  value  of  freedom.  It  certainly  has  not 
been  the  advocate  of  free  thought ;  and  what  is  free 
dom  worth  if  the  mind  is  to  be  enslaved  ? 

Dr.  Da  Costa  knows  that  millions  have  been  sacri 
ficed  in  their  efforts  to  be  free  ;  that  is,  millions  have 


been  sacrificed  for  exercising  their  freedom  as  against 
the  church. 

It  is  not  true  that  the  church  "  has  taught  and  es 
tablished  the  fact  of  human  brotherhood."  This  has 
been  the  result  of  a  civilization  to  which  Christianity 
itself  has  been  hostile. 

Can  we  prove  that  "  the  church  established  human 
brotherhood"  by  banishing  the  Jews  from  Spain  ;  by 
driving  out  the  Moors  ;  by  the  tortures  of  the  Inquisi 
tion  ;  by  butchering  the  Covenanters  of  Scotland  ;  by 
the  burning  of  Bruno  and  Servetus ;  by  the  persecu 
tion  of  the  Irish  ;  by  whipping  and  hanging  Quakers 
in  New  England  ;  by  the  slave  trade  ;  and  by  the 
hundreds  of  wars  waged  in  the  name  of  Christ  ? 

We  all  know  that  the  Bible  upholds  slavery  in  its 
very  worst  and  most  cruel  form  ;  and  how  it  can  be 
said  that  a  religion  founded  upon  a  Bible  that  upholds 
the  institution  of  slavery  has  taught  and  established 
the  fact  of  human  brotherhood,  is  beyond  my  imagin 
ation  to  conceive. 

Neither  do  I  think  it  true  that  "  we  are  indebted 
to  Christianity  for  the  advancement  of  science,  art, 
philosophy,  letters  and  learning." 

I  cheerfully  admit  that  we  are  indebted  to  Chris 
tianity  for  some  learning,  and  that  the  human  mind 
has  been  developed  by  the  discussion  of  the  absurdi- 


ties  of  superstition.  Certainly  millions  and  millions 
have  had  what  might  be  called  mental  exercise,  and 
their  minds  may  have  been  somewhat  broadened  by 
the  examination,  even,  of  these  absurdities,  contra 
dictions,  and  impossibilities.  The  church  was  not 
the  friend  of  science  or  learning  when  it  burned 
Vanini  for  writing  his  "  Dialogues  Concerning  Na 
ture."  What  shall  we  say  of  the  "  Index  Expurgato- 
rius  "  ?  For  hundreds  of  years  all  books  of  any  par 
ticular  value  were  placed  on  the  "  Index,"  and  good 
Catholics  forbidden  to  read  them.  Was  this  in  favor 
of  science  and  learning  ? 

That  we  are  indebted  to  Christianity  for  the  ad 
vancement  of  science  seems  absurd.  What  science  ? 
Christianity  was  certainly  the  enemy  of  astronomy, 
and  I  believe  that  it  was  Mr.  Draper  who  said  that 
astronomy  took  her  revenge,  so  that  not  a  star  that 
glitters  in  all  the  heavens  bears  a  Christian  name. 

Can  it  be  said  that  the  church  has  been  the  friend 
of  geology,  or  of  any  true  philosophy  ?  Let  me  show 
how  this  is  impossible. 

The  church  accepts  the  Bible  as  an  inspired  book. 
Then  the  only  object  is  to  find  its  meaning,  and  if 
that  meaning  is  opposed  to  any  result  that  the  human 
mind  may  have  reached,  the  meaning  stands  and 
the  result  reached  by  the  mind  must  be  abandoned. 


For  hundreds  of  years  the  Bible  was  the  standard, 
and  whenever  anything  was  asserted  in  any  science 
contrary  to  the  Bible,  the  church  immediately  de 
nounced  the  scientist.  I  admit  the  standard  has  been 
changed,  and  ministers  are  very  busy,  not  trying 
to  show  that  science  does  not  agree  with  the  Bible, 
but  that  the  Bible  agrees  with  science. 

Certainly  Christianity  has  done  little  for  art.  The 
early  Christians  destroyed  all  the  marbles  of  Greece 
and  Rome  upon  which  they  could  lay  their  violent 
hands  ;  and  nothing  has  been  produced  by  the  Chris 
tian  world  equal  to  the  fragments  that  were  accident 
ally  preserved.  There  have  been  many  artists  who 
were  Christians  ;  but  they  were  not  artists  because 
they  were  Christians  ;  because  there  have  been  many 
Christians  who  were  not  artists.  It  cannot  be  said 
that  art  is  born  of  any  creed.  The  mode  of  expres 
sion  may  be  determined,  and  probably  is  to  a  certain 
degree,  by  the  belief  of  the  artist ;  but  not  his  artis 
tic  perception  and  feeling. 

So,  Galileo  did  not  make  his  discoveries  because  he 
was  a  Christian,  but  in  spite  of  it.  His  Bible  was 
the  other  way,  and  so  was  his  creed.  Consequently, 
they  could  not  by  any  possibility  have  assisted  him. 
Kepler  did  not  discover  or  announce  what  are 
known  as  the  "Three  Laws"  because  he  was  a 


Christian  ;  but,  as  I  said  about  Galileo,  in  spite  of 
his  creed. 

Every  Christian  who  has  really  found  out  and 
demonstrated  and  clung  to  a  fact  inconsistent  with 
the  absolute  inspiration  of  the  Scriptures,  has  done 
so  certainly  without  the  assistance  of  his  creed. 

Let  me  illustrate  this  :  When  our  ancestors  were 
burning  each  other  to  please  God  ;  when  they  were 
ready  to  destroy  a  man  with  sword  and  flame  for 
teaching  the  rotundity  of  the  world,  the  Moors  in 
Spain  were  teaching  geography  to  their  children 
with  brass  globes.  So,  too,  they  had  observatories 
and  knew  something  of  the  orbits  of  the  stars. 

They  did  not  find  out  these  things  because  they 
were  Mohammedans,  or  on  account  of  their  belief 
in  the  impossible.  They  were  far  beyond  the  Chris 
tians,  intellectually,  and  it  has  been  very  poetically 
said  by  Mrs.  Browning,  that  "  Science  was  thrust 
into  the  brain  of  Europe  on  the  point  of  a  Moorish 

From  the  Arabs  we  got  our  numerals,  making 
mathematics  of  the  higher  branches  practical.  We 
also  got  from  them  the  art  of  making  cotton  paper, 
which  is  almost  at  the  foundation  of  modern  intelli  - 
gence.  We  learned  from  them  to  make  cotton  cloth, 
making  cleanliness  possible  in  Christendom. 


So  from  among  people  of  different  religions  we 
have  learned  many  useful  things  ;  but  they  did  not 
discover  them  on  account  of  their  religion. 

It  will  not  do  to  say  that  the  religion  of  Greece 
was  true  because  the  Greeks  were  the  greatest 
sculptors.  Neither  is  it  an  argument  in  favor  of 
monarchy  that  Shakespeare,  the  greatest  of  men, 
was  born  and  lived  in  a  monarchy. 

Dr.  Da  Costa  takes  one  of  the  effects  of  a  general 
cause,  or  of  a  vast  number  of  causes,  and  makes  it 
the  cause,  not  only  of  other  effects,  but  of  the  general 
cause.  He  seems  to  think  that  all  events  for  many 
centuries,  and  especially  all  the  good  ones,  were 
caused  by  Christianity. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  civilization  of  our  time  is 
the  result  of  countless  causes  with  which  Christian 
ity  had  little  to  do,  except  by  way  of  hindrance. 

Does  the  Doctor  think  that  the  material  progress 
of  the  world  was  caused  by  this  passage  :  "  Take  no 
thought  for  the  morrow  "  ? 

Does  he  seriously  insist  that  the  wealth  of  Chris 
tendom  rests  on  this  inspired  declaration  :  "It  is 
easier  for  a  camel  to  pass  through  the  eye  of  a 
needle  than  for  a  rich  man  to  enter  the  kingdom  oi 
heaven  "? 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Peters,  in  answer,  takes  the  ground 


that  the  Bible  has  produced  the  richest  and  most 
varied  literature  the  world  has  ever  seen. 

This,  I  think,  is  hardly  true.  Has  not  most  of 
modern  literature  been  produced  in  spite  of  the 
Bible  ?  Did  not  Christians,  for  many  generations, 
take  the  ground  that  the  Bible  was  the  only  import 
ant  book,  and  that  books  differing  from  the  Bible 
should  be  destroyed  ? 

If  Christianity — Catholic  and  Protestant — could 
have  had  its  way,  the  works  of  Voltaire,  Spinoza, 
Hume,  Paine,  Humboldt,  Darwin,  Haeckel,  Spen 
cer,  Comte,  Huxley,  Tyndall,  Draper,  Goethe,  Gib 
bon,  Buckle  and  Buchner  would  not  have  been  pub 
lished.  In  short,  the  philosophy  that  enlightens  and 
the  fiction  that  enriches  the  brain  would  not  exist. 

The  greatest  literature  the  world  has  ever  seen  is, 
in  my  judgment,  the  poetic — the  dramatic ;  that  is 
to  say,  the  literature  of  fiction  in  its  widest  sense. 
Certainly  if  the  church  could  have  had  control,  the 
plays  of  Shakespeare  never  would  have  been  writ 
ten  ;  the  literature  of  the  stage  could  not  have 
existed ;  most  works  of  fiction,  and  nearly  all  poetry, 
would  have  perished  in  the  brain.  So  I  think  it 
hardly  fair  to  say  that  "  the  Bible  has  produced  the 
richest  and  most  varied  literature  the  world  has 
ever  seen/' 

A    CHRISTMAS   SERMON.  31  5 

Thousands  of  theological  books  have  been  written 
on  thousands  of  questions  of  no  possible  importance. 
Libraries  have  been  printed  on  subjects  not  worth 
discussing — not  worth  thinking  about — and  that  will, 
in  a  few  years,  be  regarded  as  puerile  by  the  whole 

Mr.  Peters,  in  his  enthusiasm,  asks  this  question  : 

"  Who  raised  our  great  institutions  of  learning  ? 
Infidels  never  a  stone  of  them !  " 

Stephen  Girard  founded  the  best  institution  of 
learning,  the  best  charity,  the  noblest  ever  founded 
in  this  or  any  other  land  ;  and  under  the  roof  built 
by  his  wisdom  and  his  wealth  many  thousands  of 
orphans  have  been  reared,  clothed,  fed  and  educated, 
not  only  in  books,  but  in  avocations,  and  become 
happy  and  useful  citizens.  Under  his  will  there  has 
been  distributed  to  the  poor,  fuel  to  the  value  of  more 
than  $5oo,ooo  ;  and  this  distribution  goes  on  year 
after  year. 

One  of  the  best  observatories  in  the  world  was 
built  by  the  generosity  of  James  Lick,  an  infidel.  I 
call  attention  to  these  two  cases  simply  to  show  that 
the  gentleman  is  mistaken,  and  that  he  was  some 
what  carried  away  by  his  zeal. 

So,  too,  Mr.  Peters  takes  the  ground  that  "  we  are 
indebted  to  Christianity  for  our  chronology." 


According  to  Christianity  this  world  has  been 
peopled  about  six  thousand  years.  Christian  chro 
nology  gives  the  age  of  the  first  man,  and  then 
gives  the  line  from  father  to  son  down  to  the  flood, 
and  from  the  flood  down  to  the  coming  of  Christ, 
showing  that  men  have  been  upon  the  earth  only 
about  six  thousand  years.  This  chronology  is  infi 
nitely  absurd,  and  I  do  not  believe  that  there  is  an 
intelligent,  well-educated  Christian  in  the  world, 
having  examined  the  subject,  who  will  say  that  the 
Christian  chronology  is  correct. 

Neither  can  it,  I  think,  truthfully  be  said  that 
"  we  are  indebted  to  Christianity  for  the  continuation 
of  history."  The  best  modern  historians  of  whom  I 
have  any  knowledge  are  Voltaire,  Hume,  Gibbon, 
Buckle  and  Draper. 

Neither  can  I  admit  that  "  we  are  indebted  to 
Christianity  for  natural  philosophy." 

I  do  not  deny  that  some  natural  philosophers  have 
also  been  Christians,  or,  rather,  that  some  Christians 
have  been  natural  philosophers  to  the  extent  that 
their  Christianity  permitted.  But  Lamarck  and  Hum- 
boldt  and  Darwin  and  Spencer  and  Haeckel  and 
Huxley  and  Tyndall  have  done  far  more  for  natural 
philosophy  than  they  have  for  orthodox  religion. 

Whoever  believes  in  the  miraculous  must  be  the 


enemy  of  natural  philosophy.  To  him  there  is  some 
thing  above  nature,  liable  to  interfere  with  nature. 
Such  a  man  has  two  classes  of  ideas  in  his  mind, 
each  inconsistent  with  the  other.  To  the  extent  that 
he  believes  in  the  supernatural  he  is  incapacitated 
for  dealing  with  the  natural,  and  to  that  extent  fails 
to  be  a  philosopher.  Philosophy  does  not  include 
the  caprice  of  the  Infinite.  It  is  founded  on  the  ab 
solute  integrity  and  invariability  of  nature. 

Neither  do  I  agree  with  the  reverend  gentleman 
when  he  says  that  "  we  are  indebted  to  Christianity 
for  our  knowledge  of  philology." 

The  church  taught  for  a  long  time  that  Hebrew 
was  the  first  language,  and  that  other  languages  had 
been  derived  from  that ;  and  for  hundreds  and  hun 
dreds  of  years  the  efforts  of  philologists  were  arrested 
simply  because  they  started  with  that  absurd  assump 
tion  and  believed  in  the  Tower  of  Babel. 

Christianity  cannot  now  take  the  credit  for  "  meta 
physical  research."  It  has  always  been  the  enemy 
of  metaphysical  research.  It  never  has  said  to  any 
human  being,  "  Think  !"  It  has  always  said,  "  Hear !" 
It  does  not  ask  anybody  to  investigate.  It  lays  down 
certain  doctrines  as  absolutely  true,  and,  instead  of 
asking  investigation,  it  threatens  every  investigator 
with  eternal  pain.  Metaphysical  research  is  destroy- 


ing  what  has  been  called  Christianity,  and  Christians 
have  always  feared  it. 

This  gentleman  makes  another  mistake,  and  a 
very  common  one.  This  is  his  argument :  Christian 
countries  are  the  most  intelligent ;  therefore  they 
owe  that  intelligence  to  Christianity.  Then  the  next 
step  is  taken.  Christianity,  being  the  best,  having 
produced  these  results,  must  have  been  of  divine 

Let  us  see  what  this  proves.  There  was  a  time 
when  Egypt  was  the  first  nation  in  the  world.  Could 
not  an  Egyptian,  at  that  time  have  used  the  same 
arguments  that  Mr.  Peters  uses  now,  to  prove  that 
the  religion  of  Egypt  was  divine  ?  Could  he  not 
then  have  said :  "  Egypt  is  the  most  intelligent,  the 
most  civilized  and  the  richest  of  all  nations  ;  it  has 
been  made  so  by  its  religion  ;  its  religion  is,  there 
fore,  divine  "  ? 

So  there  was  a  time  when  a  Hindoo  could  have 
made  the  same  argument.  Certainly  this  argument 
could  have  been  made  by  a  Greek.  It  could  have 
been  repeated  by  a  Roman.  And  yet  Mr.  Peters 
will  not  admit  that  the  religion  of  Egypt  was  divine, 
or  that  the  mythology  of  Greece  was  true,  or  that 
Jupiter  was  in  fact  a  god. 

Is  it  not  evident  to  all  that  if  the  churches  in  Europe 


had  been  institutions  of  learning  ;  if  the  domes  of 
cathedrals  had  been  observatories  ;  if  priests  had  been 
teachers  of  the  facts  in  nature,  the  world  would 
have  been  far  in  advance  of  what  it  is  to-day  ? 

Countries  depend  on  something  besides  their  re 
ligion  for  progress.  Nations  with  a  good  soil  can 
get  along  quite  well  with  an  exceedingly  poor  relig 
ion  ;  and  no  religion  yet  has  been  good  enough  to 
give  wealth  or  happiness  to  human  beings  where 
the  climate  and  soil  were  bad  and  barren. 

Religion  supports  nobody.  It  has  to  be  sup 
ported.  It  produces  no  wheat,  no  corn  ;  it  ploughs 
no  land  ;  it  fells  no  forests.  It  is  a  perpetual  mend 
icant.  It  lives  on  the  labor  of  others,  and  then  has 
the  arrogance  to  pretend  that  it  supports  the  giver. 

Mr.  Peters  makes  this  exceedingly  strange  state 
ment  :  "Every  discovery  in  science,  invention  and 
art  has  been  the  work  of  Christian  men.  Infidels 
have  contributed  their  share,  but  never  one  of  them 
has  reached  the  grandeur  of  originality." 

This,  I  think,  so  far  as  invention  is  concerned,  can 
be  answered  with  one  name — John  Ericsson,  one  of 
the  profoundest  agnostics  I  ever  met. 

I  am  almost  certain  that  Humboldt  and  Goethe 
were  original.  Darwin  was  certainly  regarded  as 


I  do  not  wish  to  differ  unnecessarily  with  Mr. 
Peters,  but  I  have  some  doubts  about  Morse  having 
been  the  inventor  of  the  telegraph. 

Neither  can  I  admit  that  Christianity  abolished 
slavery.  Many  of  the  abolitionists  in  this  country 
were  infidels  ;  many  of  them  were  Christians.  But 
the  church  itself  did  not  stand  for  liberty.  The 
Quakers,  I  admit,  were,  as  a  rule,  on  the  side  of  free 
dom.  But  the  Christians  of  New  England  perse 
cuted  these  Quakers,  whipped  them  from  town  to 
town,  lacerated  their  naked  backs,  and  maimed  their 
bodies,  not  only,  but  took  their  lives. 

Mr.  Peters  asks  :  "  What  name  is  there  among 
the  world's  emancipators  after  which  you  cannot 
write  the  name  '  Christian  ?  '  Well,  let  me  give 
him  a  few — Voltaire,  Jefferson,  Paine,  Franklin, 
Lincoln,  Darwin. 

Mr.  Peters  asks  :  "  Why  is  it  that  in  Christian 
countries  you  find  the  greatest  amount  of  physical 
and  intellectual  liberty,  the  greatest  freedom  of 
thought,  speech,  and  action  ?  " 

Is  this  true  of  all  ?  How  about  Spain  and  Portu 
gal  ?  There  is  more  infidelity  in  France  than  in 
Spain,  and  there  is  far  more  liberty  in  France  than 
in  Spain. 

There  is  far  more  infidelity  in  England  than  there 


was  a  century  ago,  and  there  is  far  more  liberty  than 
there  was  a  century  ago.  There  is  far  more  infidel 
ity  in  the  United  States  than  there  was  fifty  years 
ago,  and  a  hundred  infidels  to-day  where  there  was 
one  fifty  years  ago  ;  and  there  is  far  more  intellectual 
liberty,  far  greater  freedom  of  speech  and  action, 
than  ever  before. 

A  few  years  ago  Italy  was  a  Christian  country  to 
the  fullest  extent.  Now  there  are  a  thousand  times 
more  liberty  and  a  thousand  times  less  religion. 

Orthodoxy  is  dying  ;  Liberty  is  growing. 

Mr.  Ballou,  a  grandson,  or  grand-nephew,  of  Hosea 
Ballou,  seems  to  have  wandered  from  the  faith.  As 
a  rule,  Christians  insist  that  when  one  denies  the 
religion  of  Christian  parents  he  is  an  exceedingly 
bad  man,  but  when  he  denies  the  religion  of  parents 
not  Christians,  and  becomes  a  Christian,  that  he  is  a 
very  faithful,  good  and  loving  son. 

Mr.  Ballou  insists  that  God  has  the  same  right  to 
punish  us  that  Nature  has,  or  that  the  State  has.  I 
do  not  think  he  understands  what  I  have  said.  The 
State  ought  not  to  punish  for  the  sake  of  punish 
ment.  The  State  may  imprison,  or  inflict  what  is 
called  punishment,  first,  for  its  own  protection,  and, 
secondly,  for  the  reformation  of  the  punished.  If 
no  one  could  do  the  State  any  injury,  certainly  the 


State  would  have  no  right  to  punish  under  the  plea 
of  protection  ;  and  if  no  human  being  could  by  any 
possibility  be  reformed,  then  the  excuse  of  reforma 
tion  could  not  be  gi^en. 

Let  us  apply  this  :  If  God  be  infinite,  no  one  can 
injure  him.  Therefore  he  need  not  punish  any 
body  or  damn  anybody  or  burn  anybody  for  his 

Let  us  take  another  step.  Punishment  being 
justified  only  on  two  grounds — that  is,  the  protection 
of  society  and  the  reformation  of  the  punished — how 
can  eternal  punishment  be  justified  ?  In  the  first 
place,  God  does  not  punish  to  protect  himself,  and, 
in  the  second  place,  if  the  punishment  is  to  be  for 
ever,  he  does  not  punish  to  reform  the  punished. 
What  excuse  then  is  left  ? 

Let  us  take  still  another  step.  If,  instead  of  pun 
ishment,  we  say  "consequences,"  and  that  every  good 
man  has  the  right  to  reap  the  good  consequences  of 
good  actions,  and  that  every  bad  man  must  bear  the 
consequences  of  bad  actions,  then  you  must  say  to  the 
good :  If  you  stop  doing  good  you  will  lose  the  har 
vest.  You  must  say  to  the  bad  :  If  you  stop  doing 
bad  you  need  not  increase  your  burdens.  And  if  it 
be  a  fact  in  Nature  that  all  must  reap  what  they  sow, 
there  is  neither  mercy  nor  cruelty  in  this  fact,  and  I 


hold  no  God  responsible  for  it.  The  trouble  with  the 
Christian  creed  is  that  God  is  described  as  the  one 
who  gives  rewards  and  the  one  who  inflicts  eternal 

There  is  still  another  trouble.  This  God,  if  infi 
nite,  must  have  known  when  he  created  man, exactly 
who  would  be  eternally  damned.  What  right  had 
he  to  create  men,  knowing  that  they  were  to  be 

So  much  for  Mr.  Ballou. 

The  Rev.  Dr.  Hillier  seems  to  reason  in  a  kind  of 
circle.  He  takes  the  ground,  in  the  first  place,  that 
"  infidelity,  Christianity,  science,  and  experience  all 
agree,  without  the  slightest  tremor  of  uncertainty, 
in  the  inexorable  law  that  whatsoever  a  man  sows 
that  shall  he  also  reap."  He  then  takes  the  ground 
that,  "  if  we  wish  to  be  rid  of  the  harvest,  we  must 
not  sow  the  seed  ;  if  we  would  avoid  the  result,  we 
must  remove  the  cause  ;  the  only  way  to  be  rid  of  hell 
is  to  stop  doing  evil  ;  that  this,  and  this  only,  is  the 
way  to  abolish  an  eternal  penitentiary." 

Very  good  ;  but  that  is  not  the  point.  The  real 
thing  under  discussion  is  this  :  Is  this  life  a  state  of 
probation,  and  if  a  man  fails  to  live  a  good  life  here, 
will  he  have  no  opportunity  for  reformation  in  an 
other  world,  if  there  be  one  ?  Can  he  cease  to  do 


evil  in  the  eternal  penitentiary  ?  and  if  he  does,  can 
he  be  pardoned — can  he  be  released  ? 

It  is  admitted  that  man  must  bear  the  consequences 
of  his  acts.  If  the  consequences  are  good,  then  the 
acts  are  good.  If  the  consequences  are  bad,  the  acts 
are  bad.  Through  experience  we  find  that  certain 
acts  tend  to  unhappiness  and  others  to  happiness. 

Now,  the  only  question  is  whether  we  have  wis 
dom  enough  to  live  in  harmony  with  our  conditions 
here  ;  and  if  we  fail  here,  will  we  have  an  opportu 
nity  of  reforming  in  another  world  ?  If  not,  then  the 
few  years  that  we  live  here  determine  whether  we 
shall  be  angels  or  devils  forever. 

It  seems  to  me,  if  there  be  another  life,  that  in  that  life 
men  may  do  good,  and  men  may  do  evil ;  and  if  they 
may  do  good  it  seems  to  me  that  they  may  reform. 

I  do  not  see  why  God,  if  there  be  one,  should  lose 
all  interest  in  his  children,  simply  because  they  leave 
this  world  and  go  where  he  is.  Is  it  possible  that 
an  infinite  God  does  all  for  his  children  here,  in  this 
poor  ignorant  world,  that  it  is  possible  for  him  to 
do,  and  that  if  he  fails  to  reform  them  here,  nothing 
is  left  to  do  except  to  make  them  eternal  convicts? 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Haldeman  mistakes  my  position.  I 
do  not  admit  that  "  an  infinite  God,  as  revealed  in 
Nature,  has  allowed  men  to  grow  up  under  conditions 


which  no  ordinary  mortal  can  look  at  in  all  their  con 
centrated  agony  and  not  break  his  heart." 

I  do  not  confess  that  God  reveals  himself  in  Nature 
as  an  infinite  God,  without  mercy.  I  do  not  admit 
that  there  is  an  infinite  Being  anywhere  responsible 
for  the  agonies  and  tears,  for  the  barbarities  and 
horrors  of  this  life.  I  cannot  believe  that  there  is  in 
the  universe  a  Being  with  power  to  prevent  these 
things.  I  hold  no  God  responsible.  I  attribute 
neither  cruelty  nor  mercy  to  Nature.  Nature  neither 
weeps  nor  rejoices.  I  cannot  believe  that  this  world, 
as  it  now  is,  as  it  has  been,  was  created  by  an  infi 
nitely  wise,  powerful,  and  benevolent  God.  But  it  is 
far  better  that  we  should  all  go  down  "  with  souls  un 
satisfied  "  to  the  dreamless  grave,  to  the  tongueless 
silence  of  the  voiceless  dust,  than  that  countless 
millions  of  human  souls  should  suffer  forever. 

Eternal  sleep  is  better  than  eternal  pain.  Eternal 
punishment  is  eternal  revenge,  and  can  be  inflicted 
only  by  an  eternal  monster. 

Mr.  George  A.  Locey  endeavors  to  put  his  case  in 
an  extremely  small  compass,  and  satisfies  himself 
with  really  one  question,  and  that  is  :  "  If  a  man  in 
good  health  is  stricken  with  disease,  is  assured  that 
a  physician  can  cure  him,  but  refuses  to  take  the 
medicine  and  dies,  ought  there  to  be  any  escape  ?" 


He  concludes  that  the  physician  has  done  his 
duty  ;  that  the  patient  was  obdurate  and  suffered  the 

The  application  he  makes  is  this  : 

"  The  Christian's  '  tidings  of  great  joy '  is  the  mes 
sage  that  the  Great  Physician  tendered  freely.  Its 
acceptance  is  a  cure  certain,  and  a  life  of  eternal  hap 
piness  the  reward.  If  the  soul  accepts,  are  they  not 
tidings  of  great  joy  ;  and  if  the  soul  rejects,  is  it  not 
unreasonable  on  the  part  of  Colonel  Ingersoll  to  try 
and  sneak  out  and  throw  the  blame  on  God  ?" 

The  answer  to  this  seems  easy.  The  cases  are 
not  parallel.  If  an  infinite  God  created  us  all,  he 
knew  exactly  what  we  would  do.  If  he  gave  us 
free  will  it  does  not  change  the  result,  because  he 
knew  how  we  would  use  the  free  will. 

Now,  if  he  knew  that  billions  upon  billions  would 
refuse  to  take  the  remedy,  and  consequently  would 
suffer  eternal  pain,  why  create  them  ?  There  would 
have  been  much  less  misery  in  the  world  had  he  left 
them  dust. 

What  right  has  a  God  to  make  a  failure  ?  Why 
should  he  change  dust  into  a  sentient  being,  know 
ing  that  that  being  was  to  be  the  heir  of  endless 
agony  ? 

If  the  supposed  physician  had  created  the  patient 


who  refused  to  take  the  medicine,  and  had  so  created 
him  that  he  knew  he  would  refuse  to  take  it,  the 
cases  might  be  parallel. 

According  to  the  orthodox  creed,  millions  are  to 
be  damned  who  never  heard  of  the  medicine  or  of 
the  "  Great  Physician." 

There  is  one  thing  said  by  the  Rev.  Mr.  Talmage 
that  I  hardly  think  he  could  have  intended.  Pos 
sibly  there  has  been  a  misprint.  It  is  the  following 
paragraph  : 

"  Who  "  (speaking  of  Jesus)  "  has  such  an  eye  to 
our  need  ;  such  a  lip  to  kiss  away  our  sorrow ;  such 
a  hand  to  snatch  us  out  of  the  fire  ;  such  a  foot  to 
trample  our  enemies ;  such  a  heart  to  embrace  all 
our  necessities  ?  " 

What  does  the  reverend  gentleman  mean  by 
"  such  afoot  to  trample  our  enemies  "  f 

This,  to  me,  is  a  terrible  line.  But  it  is  in  accord 
ance  with  the  history  of  the  church.  In  the  name 
of  its  founder  it  has  "  trampled  on  its  enemies,"  and 
beneath  its  cruel  feet  have  perished  the  noblest  of 
the  world. 

The  Rev.  J.  Benson  Hamilton,  of  Brooklyn,  comes 
into  this  discussion  with  a  great  deal  of  heat  and 
considerable  fury.  He  states  that  "  Infidelity  is  the 
creed  of  prosperity,  but  when  sickness  or  trouble  or 


sorrow  comes  he  "  (meaning  the  infidel)  "  does  not 
paw  nor  mock  nor  cry  '  Ha !  ha ! '  He  sneaks  and 
cringes  like  a  whipped  cur,  and  trembles  and  whines 
and  howls." 

The  spirit  of  Mr.  Hamilton  is  not  altogether  ad 
mirable.  He  seems  to  think  that  a  man  establishes 
the  truth  of  his  religion  by  being  brave,  or  demon 
strates  its  falsity  by  trembling  in  the  presence  of 

Thousands  of  people  have  died  for  false  religions 
and  in  honor  of  false  gods.  Their  heroism  did  not 
prove  the  truth  of  the  religion,  but  it  did  prove  the 
sincerity  of  their  convictions. 

A  great  many  murderers  have  been  hanged  who 
exhibited  on  the  scaffold  the  utmost  contempt  of 
death  ;  and  yet  this  courage  exhibited  by  dying 
murderers  has  never  been  appealed  to  in  justification 
of  murder. 

The  reverend  gentleman  tells  again  the  story  of 
the  agonies  endured  by  Thomas  Paine  when  dying  ; 
tells  us  that  he  then  said  that  he  wished  his  work 
had  been  thrown  into  the  fire,  and  that  if  the  devil 
ever  had  any  agency  in  any  work  he  had  in  the 
writing  of  that  book  (meaning  "  The  Age  of  Rea 
son,")  and  that  he  frequently  asked  the  Lord  Jesus 
to  have  mercy  upon  him. 


Of  course  there  is  not  a  word  of  truth  in  this 
story.  Its  falsity  has  been  demonstrated  thousands 
and  thousands  of  times,  and  yet  ministers  of  the 
Gospel  go  right  on  repeating  it  just  the  same. 

So  this  gentleman  tells  us  that  Voltaire  was  accus 
tomed  to  close  his  letters  with  the  words,  "  Crush 
the  wretch ! "  (meaning  Christ).  This  is  not  so.  He 
referred  to  superstition,  to  religion,  not  to  Christ. 

This  gentleman  also  says  that  "  Voltaire  was  the 
prey  of  anguish  and  dread,  alternately  supplicating 
and  blaspheming  God  ;  that  he  complained  that  he 
was  abandoned  by  God  ;  that  when  he  died  his 
friends  fled  from  the  room,  declaring  the  sight  too 
terrible  to  be  endured." 

There  is  not  one  word  of  truth  in  this.  Everybody 
who  has  read  the  life  of  Voltaire  knows  that  he  died 
with  the  utmost  serenity. 

Let  me  tell  you  how  Voltaire  died. 

He  was  an  old  man  of  eighty-four.  He  had  been 
surrounded  by  the  comforts  of  life.  He  was  a  man 
of  wealth — of  genius.  Among  the  literary  men  of 
the  world  he  stood  first.  God  had  allowed  him  to 
have  the  appearance  of  success.  His  last  years 
were  filled  with  the  intoxication  of  flattery.  He 
stood  at  the  summit  of  his  age.  The  priests  became 
anxious.  They  began  to  fear  that  God  would  for- 


get,  in  a  multiplicity  of  business,  to  make  a  terrible 
example  of  Voltaire. 

Toward  the  last  of  May,  1788,  it  was  whispered  in 
Paris  that  Voltaire  was  dying.  Upon  the  fences  of 
expectation  gathered  the  unclean  birds  of  supersti 
tion,  impatiently  waiting  for  their  prey. 

"  Two  days  before  his  death  his  nephew  went  to 
seek  the  Cure"  of  St.  Sulpice  and  the  Abbe"  Gautier, 
and  brought  them  into  his  uncle's  sick-chamber, 
who  was  informed  that  they  were  there. 

"  '  Ah,  well/  said  Voltaire  ;  '  give  them  my  com 
pliments  and  my  thanks.' 

"  The  abbe"  spoke  some  words  to  Voltaire,  exhort 
ing  him  to  patience.  The  Cure"  of  St.  Sulpice  then 
came  forward,  having  announced  himself,  and  asked 
Voltaire,  lifting  his  voice,  if  he  acknowledged  the 
divinity  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.  The  sick  man 
pushed  one  of  his  hands  against  the  curb's  coif  shov 
ing  him  back,  and  cried,  turning  abruptly  to  the  other 

"  'Let  me  die  in  peace !' 

"  The  cure"  seemingly  considered  his  person  soiled 
and  his  coif  dishonored  by  the  touch  of  the  philoso 
pher.  He  made  the  nurse  give  him  a  little  brushing 
and  went  out  with  the  Abbe"  Gautier. 

"  He  expired,"  says  Wagniere,  "  on  the  3oth  of 


May,  1788,  at  about  a  quarter  past  eleven  at  night, 
with  the  most  perfect  tranquillity. 

"  Ten  minutes  before  his  last  breath  he  took  the 
hand  of  Morand,  his  valet-de-chambre,  who  was 
watching  by  him,  pressed  it  and  said  :  '  Adieu,  my 
dear  Morand.  I  am  gone  !' 

"  These  were  his  last  words." 

From  this  death,  so  simple  and  serene,  so  natural 
and  peaceful — from  these  words  so  utterly  destitute  of 
cant  or  dramatic  touch — all  the  frightful  pictures,  all 
the  despairing  utterances  have  been  drawn  and  made. 
From  these  materials,  and  from  these  alone,  have 
been  constructed  all  the  shameless  calumnies  about 
the  death  of  this  great  and  wonderful  man. 

Voltaire  was  the  intellectual  autocrat  of  his  time. 
From  his  throne  at  the  foot  of  thq  Alps  he  pointed 
the  finger  of  scorn  at  every  hypocrite  in  Europe.  He 
was  the  pioneer  of  his  century.  He  was  the  assassin 
of  superstition.  Through  the  shadows  of  faith  and 
fable  ;  through  the  darkness  of  myth  and  miracle  ; 
through  the  midnight  of  Christianity ;  through  the 
blackness  of  bigotry  ;  past  cathedral  and  dungeon  ; 
past  rack  and  stake ;  past  altar  and  throne,  he  car 
ried,  with  chivalric  hands,  the  sacred  torch  of 

Let  me  also  tell  you  about  the  death  of  Thomas 


Paine.  After  the  publication  of  his  "  Rights  of  Man  " 
and  "  The  Age  of  Reason  ",  every  falsehood  that 
malignity  could  coin  and  malice  pass,  was  given  to 
the  world.  On  his  return  to  America,  although 
Thomas  Jefferson,  another  infidel,  was  President, 
it  was  hardly  safe  for  Paine  to  appear  in  the  public 

Under  the  very  flag  he  had  helped  to  put  in  heaven, 
his  rights  were  not  respected.  Under  the  Constitu 
tion  that  he  had  first  suggested,  his  life  was  insecure. 
He  had  helped  to  give  liberty  to  more  than  three 
millions  of  his  fellow-citizens,  and  they  were  willing 
to  deny  it  unto  him. 

He  was  deserted,  ostracized,  shunned,  maligned 
and  cursed.  But  he  maintained  his  integrity.  He 
stood  by  the  convictions  of  his  mind,  and  never  for 
one  moment  did  he  hesitate  or  waver.  He  died 
almost  alone. 

The  moment  he  died  the  pious  commenced  manu 
facturing  horrors  for  his  death-bed.  They  had  his 
chamber  filled  with  devils  rattling  chains,  and  these 
ancient  falsehoods  are  certified  to  by  the  clergy  even 
of  the  present  day. 

The  truth  is  that  Thomas  Paine  died  as  he  had 
lived.  Some  ministers  were  impolite  enough  to  visit 
him  against  his  will.  Several  of  them  he  ordered 


from  his  room.  A  couple  of  Catholic  priests,  in  all 
the  meekness  of  arrogance,  called  that  they  might 
enjoy  the  agonies  of  the  dying  friend  of  man. 
Thomas  Paine,  rising  in  his  bed,  the  few  moments 
of  expiring  life  fanned  into  flame  by  the  breath  of 
indignation,  had  the  goodness  to  curse  them  both. 

His  physician,  who  seems  to  have  been  a  meddling 
fool,  just  as  the  cold  hand  of  Death  was  touching  the 
patriot's  heart,  whispered  in  the  dulled  ear  of  the 
dying  man  :  "  Do  you  believe,  or  do  you  wish  to  be 
lieve,  that  Jesus  Christ  is  the  Son  of  God  ?  " 

And  the  reply  was  :  "  I  have  no  wish  to  believe  on 
that  subject." 

These  were  the  last  remembered  words  of  Thomas 
Paine.  He  died  as  serenely  as  ever  mortal  passed 
away.  He  died  in  the  full  possession  of  his  mind, 
and  on  the  brink  and  edge  of  death  proclaimed  the 
doctrines  of  his  life. 

Every  philanthropist,  every  believer  in  human 
liberty,  every  lover  of  the  great  Republic,  should  feel 
under  obligation  to  Thomas  Paine  for  the  splendid 
services  rendered  by  him  in  the  darkest  days  of  the 
American  Revolution.  In  the  midnight  of  Valley 
Forge,  "  The  Crisis  "  was  the  first  star  that  glittered 
in  the  wide  horizon  of  despair. 

We  should  remember  that  Thomas  Paine  was  the 


first  man  to  write  these  words  :  "  The  United  States 
of  America." 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Hamilton  seems  to  take  a  kind  of 
joy  in  imagining  what  infidels  will  suffer  when  they 
come  to  die,  and  he  writes  as  though  he  would  like 
to  be  present. 

For  my  part  I  hope  that  all  the  sons  and  daughters 
of  men  will  die  in  peace  ;  that  they  will  pass  away 
as  easily  as  twilight  fades  to  night. 

Of  course  when  I  said  that  "  Christianity  did  not 
bring  tidings  of  great  joy,  but  a  message  of  eternal 
grief,"  I  meant  orthodox  Christianity  ;  and  when  I 
said  that  "  Christianity  fills  the  future  with  fire  and 
flame,  and  made  God  the  keeper  of  an  eternal  peni 
tentiary,  in  which  most  of  the  children  of  men  were 
to  be  imprisoned  forever,"  I  was  giving  what  I  un 
derstood  to  be  the  Evangelical  belief  on  that 

If  the  churches  have  given  up  the  doctrine  of 
eternal  punishment,  then  for  one  I  am  delighted, 
and  I  shall  feel  that  what  little  I  have  done  toward 
that  end  has  not  been  done  in  vain. 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Hamilton,  enjoying  my  dying  agony 
in  imagination,  says  :  "  Let  the  world  wait  but  for  a 
few  years  at  the  most,  when  Death's  icy  fingers  feel 
for  the  heartstrings  of  the  boaster,  and,  as  most  of 


his  like  who  have  gone  before  him  have  done,  he 
will  sing  another  strain." 

How  shall  I  characterize  the  spirit  that  could 
prompt  the  writing  of  such  a  sentence  ? 

The  reverend  gentleman  "  loves  his  enemies," 
and  yet  he  is  filled  with  glee  when  he  thinks  of  the 
agonies  I  shall  endure  when  Death's  icy  fingers  feel 
for  the  strings  of  my  heart !  Yet  I  have  done  him 
no  harm. 

He  then  quotes,  as  being  applicable  to  me,  a  pas 
sage  from  the  prophet  Isaiah,  commencing  :  "  The 
vile  person  will  speak  villainy." 

Is  this  passage  applicable  only  to  me  ? 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Holloway  is  not  satisfied  with  the 
"  Christmas  Sermon."  For  his  benefit  I  repeat,  in 
another  form,  what  the  "  Christmas  Sermon  "  con 
tains  : 

If  orthodox  Christianity  teaches  that  this  life  is  a 
period  of  probation,  that  we  settle  here  our  eternal 
destiny,  and  that  all  who  have  heard  the  Gospel  and 
who  have  failed  to  believe  it  are  to  be  eternally  lost, 
then  I  say  that  Christianity  did  not  "  bring  tidings 
of  great  joy,"  but  a  Message  of  Eternal  Grief.  And 
if  the  orthodox  churches  are  still  preaching  the  doc 
trine  of  Endless  Pain,  then  I  say  it  would  be  far  bet 
ter  if  every  church  crumbled  into  dust  than  that 


such  preaching  and  such  teaching  should  be  con 

It  would  be  far  better  yet,  however,  if  the  minis 
ters  could  be  converted  and  their  congregations  en 

I  admit  that  the  orthodox  churches  preach  some 
things  beside  hell  ;  but  if  they  do  not  believe  in 
the  eternity  of  punishment  they  ought  publicly  to 
change  their  creeds. 

I  admit,  also,  that  the  average  minister  advises 
his  congregation  to  be  honest  and  to  treat  all  with 
kindness,  and  I  admit  that  many  of  these  ministers 
fail  to  follow  their  own  advice  when  they  make 
what  they  call  "  replies  "  to  me. 

Of  course  there  are  many  good  things  about  the 
church.  To  the  extent  that  it  is  charitable,  or 
rather  to  the  extent  that  it  causes  charity,  it  is 
good.  To  the  extent  that  it  causes  men  and  women 
to  lead  moral  lives  it  is  good.  But  to  the  extent 
that  it  fills  the  future  with  fear  it  is  bad.  To  the  ex 
tent  that  it  convinces  any  human  being  that  there  is 
any  God  who  not  only  can,  but  will,  inflict  eternal 
torments  on  his  own  children,  it  is  bad. 

And  such  teaching  does  tend  to  blight  humanity. 
Such  teaching  does  pollute  the  imagination  of  child 
hood.  Such  teaching  does  furrow  the  cheeks  of  the 


best  and  tenderest  with  tears.  Such  teaching  does 
rob  old  age  of  all  its  joy,  and  covers  every  cradle 
with  a  curse  ! 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Holloway  seems  to  be  extremely 
familiar  with  God.  He  says  :  "  God  seems  to  have 
delayed  his  advent  through  all  the  ages  to  give  unto 
the  world  the  fullest  opportunity  to  do  all  that  the 

human    mind  could  suggest    for   the  weal   of  the 


According  to  this  gentleman,  God  just  delayed 
his  advent  for  the  purpose  of  seeing  what  the  world 
would  do,  knowing  all  the  time  exactly  what  would 
be  done. 

Let  us  make  a  suggestion  :  If  the  orthodox  creed 
be  true,  then  all  people  became  tainted  or  corrupted 
or  depraved,  or  in  some  way  spoiled  by  what  is 
known  as  "  Original  Sin." 

According  to  the  Old  Testament,  these  people 
kept  getting  worse  and  worse.  It  does  not  seem  that 
Jehovah  made  any  effort  to  improve  them,  but  he 
patiently  waited  for  about  fifteen  hundred  years  with 
out  having  established  any  church,  without  having 
given  them  a  Bible,  and  then  he  drowned  all  but 
eight  persons. 

Now,  those  eight  persons  were  also  depraved.  The 
taint  of  Original  Sin  was  also  in  their  blood. 


It  seems  to  me  that  Jehovah  made  a  mistake.  He 
should  also  have  killed  the  remaining  eight,  and 
started  new,  kept  the  serpent  out  of  his  garden,  and 
furnished  the  first  pair  with  a  Bible  and  the  Presby 
terian  Confession  of  Faith. 

The  Rev.  Dr.  Tyler  takes  it  for  granted  that  all 
charity  and  goodness  are  the  children  of  Christianity. 
This  is  a  mistake.  All  the  virtues  were  in  the  world 
long  before  Christ  came.  Probably  Mr.  Tyler  will 
be  convinced  by  the  words  of  Christ  himself.  He 
will  probably  remember  the  story  of  the  Good  Samar 
itan,  and  if  he  does  he  will  see  that  it  is  exactly  in 
point.  The  Good  Samaritan  was  not  a  Hebrew.  He 
was  not  on£  of"  the  chosen  people."  He  was  a  poor, 
"  miserable  heathen,"  who  knew  nothing  about  the 
Jehovah  of  the  Old  Testament,  and  who  had  never 
heard  of  the  "  scheme  of  salvation."  And  yet,  ac 
cording  to  Christ,  he  was  far  more  charitable  than 
the  Levites — the  priests  of  Jehovah,  the  highest  of 
"  the  chosen  people."  Is  it  not  perfectly  plain  from 
this  story  that  charity  was  in  the  world  before  Chris 
tianity  was  established  ? 

A  great  deal  has  been  said  about  asylums  and  hos 
pitals,  as  though  the  Christians  are  entitled  to  great 
credit  on  that  score.  If  Dr.  Tyler  will  read  what  is 
said  in  the  British  Encyclopaedia,  under  the  head  of 


"  Mental  Diseases,"  he  will  find  that  the  Egyptians 
treated  the  insane  with  the  utmost  kindness,  and 
that  they  called  reason  back  to  its  throne  by  the  voice 
of  music  ;  that  the  temples  were  resorted  to  by  crowds 
of  the  insane  ;  and  that  "whatever  gifts  of  nature 
or  productions  of  art  were  calculated  to  impress  the 
imagination  were  there  united.  Games  and  recrea 
tions  were  instituted  in  the  temples.  Groves  and 
gardens  surrounded  these  holy  retreats.  Gayly  deco 
rated  boats  sometimes  transported  patients  to  breathe 
the  pure  breezes  of  the  Nile." 

So  in  ancient  Greece  it  is  said  that  "from  the 
hands  of  the  priest  the  cure  of  the  disordered  mind 
first  passed  into  the  domain  of  medicine,  with  the 
philosophers.  Pythagoras  is  said  to  have  employed 
music  for  the  cure  of  mental  diseases.  The  order  of 
the  day  for  his  disciples  exhibits  a  profound  knowl 
edge  of  the  relations  of  body  and  mind.  The  early 
morning  was  divided  between  gentle  exercise,  con 
versation  and  music.  Then  came  conversation,  fol 
lowed  by  gymnastic  exercise  and  a  temperate  diet. 
Afterward,  a  bath  and  supper  with  a  sparing  allow 
ance  of  wine  ;  then  reading,  music  and  conversation 
concluded  the  day." 

So  "Asclepiades  was  celebrated  for  his  treatment 
of  mental  disorders.  He  recommended  that  bodily 


restraint  should  be  avoided  as  much  as  possible."  It 
is  also  stated  that  "  the  philosophy  and  arts  of  Greece 
spread  to  Rome,  and  the  first  special  treatise  on  in 
sanity  is  that  of  Celsus,  which  distinguishes  varieties 
of  insanity  and  their  proper  treatment." 

"  Over  the  arts  and  sciences  of  Greece  and  Rome 
the  errors  and  ignorance  of  the  Middle  Ages  gradu 
ally  crept,  until  they  enveloped  them  in  a  cloud  worse 
than  Egyptian  darkness.  The  insane  were  again 
consigned  to  the  miracle-working  ordinances  of 
priests  cr  else  totally  neglected.  Idiots  and  imbeciles 
were  permitted  to  go  clotheless  and  homeless.  The 
frantic  and  furious  were  chained  in  lonesome  dun 
geons  and  exhibited  for  money, like  wild  beasts.  The 
monomaniacs  became,  according  to  circumstance,  the 
objects  of  superstitious  horror  or  reverence.  They 
were  regarded  as  possessed  with  demons  and  sub 
jected  either  to  priestly  exorcism,  or  cruelly  destroyed 
as  wizards  and  witches.  This  cruel  treatment  of  the 
insane  continued  with  little  or  no  alleviation  down 
to  the  end  of  the  last  century  in  all  the  civilized 
countries  of  Europe." 

Let  me  quote  a  description  of  these  Christian 

"  Public  asylums  indeed  existed  in  most  of  the 
metropolitan  cities  of  Europe,  but  the  insane  were 


more  generally,  if  at  all  troublesome,  confined  in 
jails,  where  they  were  chained  in  the  lowest  dungeons 
or  made  the  butts  and  menials  of  the  most  debased 
criminals.  In  public  asylums  the  inmates  were  con 
fined  in  cellars,  isolated  in  cages,  chained  to  floors  or 
walls.  These  poor  victims  were  exhibited  to  the 
public  like  wild  beasts.  They  were  often  killed  by 
the  ignorance  and  brutality  of  their  keepers." 

I  call  particular  attention  to  the  following  para 
graph  :  "  Such  was  the  state  of  the  insane  generally 
throughout  Europe  at  the  commencement  of  this 
century.  Such  it  continued  to  be  in  England  so 
late  as  1815  and  in  Ireland  as  1817,  as  revealed  by 
the  inquiries  of  parliamentary  commissions  in  those 
years  respectively." 

Dr.  Tyler  is  entirely  welcome  to  all  the  comfort 
these  facts  can  give. 

Not  only  were  the  Greeks  and  Romans  and 
Egyptians  far  in  advance  of  the  Christians  in  the 
treatment  of  the  mentally  diseased,  but  even  the 
Mohammedans  were  in  advance  of  the  Christians 
about  700  years,  and  in  addition  to  this  they  treated 
their  lunatics  with  great  kindness. 

The  temple  of  Diana  of  Ephesus  was  a  refuge  for 
insolvent  debtors,  and  the  Thesium  was  a  refuge  for 


Again,  I  say  that  hundreds  of  years  before  the 
establishment  of  Christianity  there  were  in  India  not 
only  hospitals  and  asylums  for  people,  but  even  for 
animals.  The  great  mistake  of  the  Christian  clergy 
is  that  they  attribute  all  goodness  to  Christianity. 
They  have  always  been  engaged  in  maligning  human 
nature — in  attacking  the  human  heart — in  efforts  to 
destroy  all  natural  passions. 

Perfect  maxims  for  the  conduct  of  life  were  uttered 
and  repeated  in  India  and  China  hundreds  and  hun 
dreds  of  years  before  the  Christian  era.  Every  virtue 
was  lauded  and  every  vice  denounced.  All  the 
good  that  Christianity  has  in  it  came  from  the  human 
heart.  Everything  in  that  system  of  religion  came 
from  this  world  ;  and  in  it  you  will  find  not  only  the 
goodness  of  man,  but  the  imperfections  of  man — not 
only  the  love  of  man,  but  the  malice  of  man. 

Let  me  tell  you  why  the  Christians  for  so  many 
centuries  neglected  or  abused  the  insane.  They  be 
lieved  the  New  Testament,  and  honestly  supposed 
that  the  insane  were  filled  with  devils. 

In  regard  to  the  contest  between  Dr.  Buckley, 
who,  as  I  understand  it,  is  a  doctor  of  theology — 
and  I  should  think  such  theology  stood  in  need  of  a 
doctor — and  the  Telegram,  I  have  nothing  to  say. 
There  is  only  one  side  to  that  contest ;  and  so  far 


as  the  Doctor  heretofore  criticised  what  is  known  as 
the  "  Christmas  Sermon,"  I  have  answered  him, 
leaving  but  very  little  to  which  I  care  to  reply  in 
his  last  article. 

Dr.  Buckley,  like  many  others,  brings  forward 
names  instead  of  reasons — instead  of  arguments. 
Milton,  Pascal,  Elizabeth  Fry,  John  Howard,  and 
Michael  Faraday  are  not  arguments.  They  are  only 
names  ;  and,  instead  of  giving  the  names,  Dr.  Buck 
ley  should  give  the  reasons  advanced  by  those 
whose  names  he  pronounces. 

Jonathan  Edwards  may  have  been  a  good  man, 
but  certainly  his  theology  was  infamous.  So  Father 
Mathew  was  a  good  man,  but  it  was  impossible  for 
him  to  be  good  enough  to  convince  Dr.  Buckley  of 
the  doctrine  of  the  "  Real  Presence." 

Milton  was  a  very  good  man,  and  he  described 
God  as  a  kind  of  brigadier-general,  put  the  angels 
in  uniform  and  had  regular  battles  ;  but  Milton's 
goodness  can  by  no  possibility  establish  the  truth  of 
his  poetical  and  absurd  vagaries. 

All  the  self-denial  and  goodness  in  the  world  do 
not  even  tend  to  prove  the  existence  of  the  super 
natural  or  of  the  miraculous.  Millions  and  millions 
of  the  most  devoted  men  could  not,  by  their  devo 
tion,  substantiate  the  inspiration  of  the  Scriptures. 


There  are,  however,  some  misstatements  in  Dr. 
Buckley's  article  that  ought  not  to  be  passed  over 
in  silence. 

The  first  is  to  the  effect  that  I  was  invited  to 
write  an  article  for  the  North  American  Review, 
Judge  Jeremiah  Black  to  reply,  and  that  Judge  Black 
was  improperly  treated. 

Now,  it  is  true  that  I  was  invited  to  write  an  ar 
ticle,  and  did  write  one  ;  but  I  did  not  know  at  the 
time  who  was  to  reply.  It  is  also  true  that  Judge 
Black  did  reply,  and  that  my  article  and  his  reply 
appeared  in  the  same  number  of  the  Review. 

Dr.  Buckley  alleges  that  the  North  American  Re 
view  gave  me  an  opportunity  to  review  the  Judge, 
but  denied  to  Judge  Black  an  opportunity  to  respond. 
This  is  without  the  slightest  foundation  in  fact.  Mr. 
Metcalf,  who  at  that  time  was  manager  of  the 
Review,  is  still  living  and  will  tell  the  facts.  Per 
sonally  I  had  nothing  to  do  with  it,  one  way  or  the 
other.  I  did  not  regard  Judge  Black's  reply  as  for 
midable,  and  was  not  only  willing  that  he  should  be 
heard  again,  but  anxious  that  he  should. 

So  much  for  that. 

As  to  the  debate,  with  Dr.  Field  and  Mr.  Gladstone, 
I  leave  them  to  say  whether  they  were  or  were  not 
fairly  treated.  Dr.  Field,  by  his  candor,  by  his  fair- 


ness,  and  by  the  manly  spirit  he  exhibited  won  my 
respect  and  love. 

Most  ministers  imagine  that  any  man  who  differs 
from  them  is  a  blasphemer.  .This  word  seems  to 
leap  unconsciously  from  their  lips.  They  cannot 
imagine  that  another  man  loves  liberty  as  much  and 
with  as  sincere  devotion  as  they  love  God.  They 
cannot  imagine  that  another  prizes  liberty  above  all 
gods,  even  if  gods  exist.  They  cannot  imagine  that 
any  mind  is  so  that  it  places  Justice  above  all  per 
sons,  a  mind  that  cannot  conceive  even  of  a  God  who 
is  not  bound  to  do  justice. 

If  God  exists,  above  him,  in  eternal  calm,  is  the 
figure  of  Justice. 

Neither  can  some  ministers  understand  a  man  who 
regards  Jehovah  and  Jupiter  as  substantially  the 
same,  with  this  exception — that  he  thinks  far  more 
of  Jupiter,  because  Jupiter  had  at  least  some  human 

I  do  not  understand  that  a  man  can  be  guilty  of 
blasphemy  who  states  his  honest  thoughts  in  proper 
language,  his  object  being,  not  to  torture  the  feelings 
of  others,  but  simply  to  give  his  thought — to  find  and 
establish  the  truth. 

Dr.  Buckley  makes  a  charge  that  he  ought  to  have 
known  to  be  without  foundation.  Speaking  of  my- 


self,  he  said  :  "  In  him  the  laws  to  prevent  the  circu 
lation  of  obscene  publications  through  the  mails  have 
found  their  most  vigorous  opponent." 

It  is  hardly  necessary  for  me  to  say  that  this  is  un 
true.  The  facts  are  that  an  effort  was  made  to  clas 
sify  obscene  literature  with  what  the  pious  call 
"  blasphemous  and  immoral  works."  A  petition  was 
forwarded  to  Congress  to  amend  the  law  so  that  the 
literature  of  Freethought  could  not  be  thrown  from 
the  mails,  asking  that,  if  no  separation  could  be  made, 
the  law  should  be  repealed. 

It  was  said  that  I  had  signed  this  petition,  and  I 
certainly  should  have  done  so  had  it  been  presented 
to  me.  The  petition  was  absolutely  proper. 

A  few  years  ago  I  found  the  petition,  and  discov 
ered  that  while  it  bore  my  name  it  had  never  been 
signed  by  me.  But  for  the  purposes  of  this  answer  I 
am  perfectly  willing  that  the  signature  should  be 
regarded  as  genuine,  as  there  is  nothing  in  the  pe 
tition  that  should  not  have  been  granted. 

The  law  as  it  stood  was  opposed  by  the  Liberal 
League — but  not  a  member  of  that  society  was  in 
favor  of  the  circulation  of  obscene  literature ;  but 
they  did  think  that  the  privacy  of  the  mails  had 
been  violated,  and  that  it  was  of  the  utmost  import 
ance  to  maintain  the  inviolability  of  the  postal  service. 


I  disagreed  with  these  people,  and  favored  the  de 
struction  of  obscene  literature  not  only,  but  that  it 
be  made  a  criminal  offence  to  send  it  through  the 
mails.  As  a  matter  of  fact  I  drew  up  resolutions  to 
that  effect  that  were  passed.  Afterward  they  were 
changed,  or  some  others  were  passed,  and  I  resigned 
from  the  League  on  that  account. 

Nothing  can  be  more  absurd  than  that  I  was, 
directly  or  indirectly,  or  could  have  been,  interested 
in  the  circulation  of  obscene  publications  through 
the  mails  ;  and  I  will  pay  a  premium  of  #1,000  a 
word  for  each  and  every  word  I  ever  said  or  wrote 
in  favor  of  sending  obscene  publications  through  the 

I  might  use  much  stronger  language.  I  might 
follow  the  example  of  Dr.  Buckley  himself.  But  I 
think  I  have  said  enough  to  satisfy  all  unprejudiced 
people  that  the  charge  is  absurdly  false. 

Now,  as  to  the  eulogy  of  whiskey.  It  gives  me  a 
certain  pleasure  to  read  that  even  now,  and  I  believe 
the  readers  of  the  Telegram  would  like  to  read  it 
once  more  ;  so  here  it  is  : 

"  I  send  you  some  of  the  most  wonderful  whiskey 
that  ever  drove  the  skeleton  from  a  feast  or  painted 
landscapes  in  the  brain  of  man.  It  is  the  mingled 
souls  of  wheat  and  corn.  In  it  you  will  find  the 


sunshine  and  the  shadow  that  chased  each  other  over 
the  billowy  fields  ;  the  breath  of  June  ;  the  carol  of  the 
lark  ;  the  dews  of  night  ;  the  wealth  of  summer  and 
autumn's  rich  content,  all  golden  with  imprisoned 
light.  Drink  it  and  you  will  hear  the  voices  of 
men  and  maidens  singing  the  '  Harvest  Home,' 
iningled  with  the  laughter  of  children.  Drink  it 
and  you  will  feel  within  your  blood  the  star-lit 
dawns,  the  dreamy,  tawny  dusks  of  many  perfect 
days.  For  forty  years  this  liquid  joy  has  been  with 
in  the  happy  staves  of  oak,  longing  to  touch  the  lips 
of  men." 

I  re-quote  this  for  the  reason  that  Dr.  Buckley, 
who  is  not  very  accurate,  made  some  mistakes  in 
his  version. 

Now,  in  order  to  show  the  depth  of  degradation  to 
which  I  have  sunk  in  this  direction,  I  will  confess 
that  I  also  wrote  a  eulogy  of  tobacco,  and  here 
it  is  : 

"  Nearly  four  centuries  ago  Columbus,  the  adven 
turous,  in  the  blessed  island  of  Cuba,  saw  happy  people 
with  rolled  leaves  between  their  lips.  Above  their 
heads  were  little  clouds  of  smoke.  Their  faces  were 
serene,  and  in  their  eyes  was  the  autumnal  heaven  of 
content.  These  people  were  kind,  innocent,  gentle 
and  loving. 


"  The  climate  of  Cuba  is  the  friendship  of  the  earth 
and  air,  and  of  this  climate  the  sacred  leaves  were 
born — the  leaves  that  breed  in  the  mind  of  him  who 
uses  them  the  cloudless,  happy  days  in  which  they 

"  These  leaves  make  friends,  and  celebrate  with 
gentle  rites  the  vows  of  peace.  They  have  given 
consolation  to  the  world.  They  are  the  companions 
of  the  lonely — the  friends  of  the  imprisoned,  of  the 
exile,  of  workers  in  mines,  of  fellers  of  forests,  of 
sailors  on  the  desolate  seas.  They  are  the  givers  of 
strength  and  calm  to  the  vexed  and  wearied  minds 
of  those  who  build  with  thought  and  dream  the  tem 
ples  of  the  soul. 

"  They  tell  of  hope  and  rest.  They  smooth  the 
wrinkled  brows  of  pain — drive  fears  and  strange  mis 
shapen  dreads  from  out  the  mind  and  fill  the  heart 
with  rest  and  peace.  Within  their  magic  warp  and 
woof  some  potent  gracious  spell  imprisoned  lies,  that, 
when  released  by  fire,  doth  softly  steal  within  the 
fortress  of  the  brain  and  bind  in  sleep  the  captured 
sentinels  of  care  and  grief. 

"  These  leaves  are  the  friends  of  the  fireside,  and 
their  smoke,  like  incense,  rises  from  myriads  of  happy 
homes.  Cuba  is  the  smile  of  the  sea." 

There  are  some  people  so  constituted  that  there  is 


no  room  in  the  heaven  of  their  minds  for  the  butter 
flies  and  moths  of  fancy  to  spread  their  wings. 
Everything  is  taken  in  solemn  and  stupid  earnest. 
Such  men  would  hold  Shakespeare  responsible  for 
what  Falstaff  said  about "  sack,"  and  for  Mrs.  Quickly 's 
notions  of  propriety. 

There  is  an  old  Greek  saying  which  is  applicable 
here  :  "  In  the  presence  of  human  stupidity,  even 
the  gods  stand  helpless." 

John  Wesley,  founder  of  the  Methodist  Church, 
lacked  all  sense  of  humor.  He  preached  a  sermon 
on  "  The  Cause  and  Cure  of  Earthquakes."  He  in 
sisted  that  they  were  caused  by  the  wickedness  of 
man,  and  that  the  only  way  to  cure  them  was  to  be 
lieve  on  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ. 

The  man  who  does  not  carry  the  torch  of  Humor 
is  always  in  danger  of  falling  into  the  pit  of  Ab 

The  Rev.  Charles  Deems,  pastor  of  the  Church 
of  the  Strangers,  contributes  his  part  to  the  discus 

He  took  a  text  from  John,  as  follows  :  "  He  that 
committeth  sin  is  of  the  devil,  for  the  devil  sinneth 
from  the  beginning.  For  this  purpose  the  Son  of 
God  was  manifested,  that  he  might  destroy  the  works 
of  the  devil." 


According  to  the  orthodox  creed  of  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Deems  all  have  committed  sin,  and  consequently  all 
are  of  the  devil.  The  Doctor  is  not  a  metaphysician. 
He  does  not  care  to  play  at  sleight  of  hand  with 
words.  He  stands  on  bed-rock,  and  he  asserts  that 
the  devil  is  no  Persian  myth,  but  a  personality,  who 
works  unhindered  by  the  limitations  of  a  physical 
body,  and  gets  human  personalities  to  aid  him  in  his 

According  to  the  text,  it  seems  that  the  devil  was 
a  sinner  from  the  beginning.  I  suppose  that  must 
mean  from  his  beginning,  or  from  the  beginning  of 
things.  According  to  Dr.  Deems'  creed,  his  God  is 
the  Creator  of  all  things,  and  consequently  must  have 
been  the  Creator  of  the  devil.  According  to  the 
Scriptures  the  devil  is  the  father  of  lies,  and  Dr. 
Deems'  God  is  the  father  of  the  devil — that  is  to  say, 
the  grandfather  of  lies.  This  strikes  me  as  almost 
"  blasphemous." 

The  Doctor  also  tells  us  "  that  Jesus  believed  as 
much  in  the  personality  of  the  devil  as  in  that  of 
Herod  or  Pilate  or  John  or  Peter." 

That  I  admit.  There  is  not  the  slightest  doubt,  if 
the  New  Testament  be  true,  that  Christ  believed  in 
a  personal  devil — a  devil  with  whom  he  had  conver 
sations  ;  a  devil  who  took  him  to  the  pinnacle  of  the 


Temple  and  endeavored  to  induce  him  to  leap  to  the 
earth  below. 

Of  course  he  believed  in  a  personal  devil.  Not 
only  so  ;  he  believed  in  thousands  of  personal  devils. 
He  cast  seven  devils  out  of  Mary  Magdalene.  He 
cast  a  legion  of  devils  out  of  the  man  in  the  tombs, 
or,  rather,  made  a  bargain  with  these  last-mentioned 
devils  that  they  might  go  into  a  drove  or  herd  of 
swine,  if  they  would  leave  the  man. 

I  not  only  admit  that  Christ  believed  in  devils,  but 
he  believed  that  some  devils  were  deaf  and  dumb, 
and  so  declared. 

Dr.  Deems  is  right,  and  I  hope  he  will  defend 
against  all  comers  the  integrity  of  the  New  Testa 

The  Doctor,  however,  not  satisfied  exactly  with 
what  he  finds  in  the  New  Testament,  draws  a  little  on 
his  own  imagination.  He  says  : 

"  The  devil  is  an  organizing,  imperial  intellect, 
vindictive,  sharp,  shrewd,  persevering,  the  aim  of 
whose  works  is  to  overthrow  the  authority  of  God's 

How  does  the  Doctor  know  that  the  devil  has  an 
organizing,  imperial  intellect  ?  How  does  he  know 
that  he  is  vindictive  and  sharp  and  shrewd  and  per 
severing  ? 


If  the  devil  has  an  "  imperial  intellect,"  why  does 
he  attempt  the  impossible  ? 

Robert  Burns  shocked  Scotland  by  saying  of  the 
devil,  or,  rather,  to  the  devil,  that  he  was  sorry  for 
him,  and  hoped  he  would  take  a  thought  and  mend. 

Dr.  Deems  has  gone  far  in  advance  of  Burns.  For 
a  clergyman  he  seems  to  be  exceedingly  polite. 
Speaking  of  the  "  Arch  Enemy  of  God  " — of  that 
"  organizing,  imperial  intellect  who  is  seeking  to  un 
dermine  the  church  " — the  Doctor  says  : 

"  The  devil  may  be  conceded  to  be  sincere." 

It  has  been  said  : 

"An  honest  God  is  the  noblest  work  of  man,"  and 
it  may  now  be  added  :  A  sincere  devil  is  the  noblest 
work  of  Dr.  Deems. 

But,  with  all  the  devil's  smartness,  sharpness,  and 
shrewdness,  the  Doctor  says  that  he  "  cannot  write  a 
book  ;  that,  he  cannot  deliver  lectures  "  (like  myself, 
I  suppose),  "  edit  a  newspaper  "  (like  the  editor  of  the 
Telegram],  "  or  make  after-dinner  speeches  ;  but  he 
can  get  his  servants  to  do  these  things  for  him." 

There  is  one  thing  in  the  Doctor's  address  that  I 
feel  like  correcting  (I  quote  from  the  Telegrams  re 
port)  : 

"Dr.  Deems  showed  at  length  how  the  Son  of  God, 
the  Christ  of  the  Bible — not  the  Christ  of  the  lecture 


platform  caricatures — is  operating  to  overcome  all 
these  works." 

I  take  it  for  granted  that  he  refers  to  what  he 
supposes  I  have  said  about  Christ,  and,  for  fear  that 
he  may  not  have  read  it,  I  give  it  here  : 

"And  let  me  say  here,  once  for  all,  that  for  the  man 
Christ  I  have  infinite  respect.  Let  me  say,  once  for 
all,  that  the  place  where  man  has  died  for  man  is  holy 
ground.  And  let  me  say,  once  for  all,  that  to  that 
great  and  serene  man  I  gladly  pay,  the  tribute  of  my 
admiration  and  my  tears.  He  was  a  reformer  in  his 
day.  He  was  an  infidel  in  his  time.  He  was  re 
garded  as  a  blasphemer,  and  his  life  was  destroyed 
by  hypocrites,  who  have,  in  all  ages,  done  what  they 
could  to  trample  freedom  and  manhood  out  of  the 
human  mind.  Had  I  lived  at  that  time  I  would  have 
been  his  friend,  and  should  he  come  again  he  will  not 
find  a  better  friend  than  I  will  be.  That  is  for  the 
man.  For  the  theological  creation  I  have  a  different 

I  have  not  answered  each  one  who  has  attacked  by 
name.  Neither  have  I  mentioned  those  who  have 
agreed  with  me.  But  I  do  take  this  occasion  to 
thank  all,  irrespective  of  their  creeds,  who  have  man 
fully  advocated  the  right  of  free  speech,  and  who 
have  upheld  the  Telegram  in  the  course  it  has  taken. 


I  thank  all  who  have  said  a  kind  word  for  me,  and  I 
also  feel  quite  grateful  to  those  who  have  failed  to 
say  unkind  words.  Epithets  are  not  arguments.  To 
abuse  is  not  to  convince.  Anger  is  stupid  and  malice 

And,  after  all  that  has  appeared  by  way  of  reply, 
I  still  insist  that  orthodox  Christianity  did  not  come 
with  "  tidings  of  great  joy,"  but  with  a  message  of 
eternal  grief. 


New  York,  February  5,  1892. 



Question.  Have  you  read  an  article  in  the 
Western  Watchman,  entitled  "  Suicide  of  Judge 
Normile  "  ?  If  so,  what  is  your  opinion  of  it  ? 

Answer.  I  have  read  the  article,  and  I  think  the 
spirit  in  which  it  is  written  is  in  exact  accord  with 
the  creed,  with  the  belief,  that  prompted  it. 

In  this  article  the  writer  speaks  not  only  of  Judge 
Normile,  but  of  Henry  D'Arcy,  and  begins  by  say 
ing  that  a  Catholic  community  had  been  shocked, 
but  that  as  a  matter  of  fact  the  Catholics  had  no 
right  "  to  feel  special  concern  in  the  life  or  death  of 
either,"  for  the  reason,  "  that  both  had  ceased  to  be 
Catholics,  and  had  lived  as  infidels  and  scoffers." 

According  to  the  Catholic  creed  all  infidels  and 
scoffers  are  on  the  direct  road  to  eternal  pain  ;  and 
yet,  if  the  Watchman  is  to  be  believed,  Catholics 
have  no  right  to  have  special  concern  for  the  fate  of 
such  people,  even  after  their  death. 

•A  reply  to  the  Western  Watchman,  published  in  the  St.  Louis  Globe  Democrat, 
Sept.  1,  1892.  (359) 


The  church  has  always  proclaimed  that  it  was 
seeking  the  lost  — that  it  was  trying  in  every  way 
to  convert  the  infidels  and  save  the  scoffers  — that 
it  cared  less  for  the  ninety-nine  sheep  safe  in  the 
fold  than  for  the  one  that  had  strayed.  We  have 
been  told  that  God  so  loved  infidels  and  scoffers, 
that  he  came  to  this  poor  world  and  gave  his  life 
that  they  might  be  saved.  But  now  we  are  told 
by  the  Western  Watchman  that  the  church,  said  to 
have  been  founded  by  Christ,  has  no  right  to  feel 
any  special  concern  about  the  fate  of  infidels  and 

Possibly  the  Watchman  only  refers  to  the  infidels 
and  scoffers  who  were  once  Catholics. 

If  the  New  Testament  is  true,  St.  Peter  was  at 
one  time  a  Christian  ;  that  is  to  say,  a  good  Catho 
lic,  and  yet  he  fell  from  grace  and  not  only  denied 
his  Master,  but  went  to  the  extent  of  swearing  that 
he  did  not  know  him  ;  that  he  never  had  made  his 
acquaintance.  And  yet,  this  same  Peter  was  taken 
back  and  became  the  rock  on  which  the  Catholic 
Church  is  supposed  to  rest. 

Are  the  Catholics  of  St.  Louis  following  the 
example  of  Christ,  when  they  publicly  declare  that 
they  care  nothing  for  the  fate  of  one  who  left  the 
church  and  who  died  in  his  sins  ? 


The  Watchman,  in  order  to  show  that  it  was 
simply  doing  its  duty,  and  was  not  actuated  by 
hatred  or  malice,  assures  us  as  follows  :  "  A  warm 
personal  friendship  existed  between  D'Arcy  and 
Normile  and  the  managers  of  this  paper."  What' 
would  the  Watchman  have  said  if  these  men  had 
been  the  personal  enemies  of  the  managers  of  that 
paper  ?  Two  warm  personal  friends,  once  Catho 
lics,  had  gone  to  hell  ;  but  the  managers  of  the 
Watchman,  "  warm  personal  friends  "  of  the  dead, 
had  no  right  to  feel  any  special  concern  about  these 
friends  in  the  flames  of  perdition.  One  would  think 
that  pity  had  changed  to  piety. 

Another  wonderful  statement  is  that  "  both  of 
these  men  determined  to  go  to  hell,  if  there  was  a 
hell,  and  to  forego  the  joys  of  heaven,  if  there  was 
a  heaven." 

Admitting  that  heaven  and  hell  exist,  that  heaven 
is  a  good  place,  and  that  hell,  to  say  the  least,  is, 
and  eternally  will  be,  unpleasant,  why  should  any 
sane  man  unalterably  determine  to  go  to  hell  ?  It  is 
hard  to  think  of  any  reason,  unless  he  was  afraid  of 
meeting  those  Catholics  in  heaven  who  had  been 
his  "  warm  personal  friends "  in  this  world.  The 
truth  is  that  no  one  wishes  to  be  unhappy  in  this  or 
any  other  country.  The  truth  is  that  Henry  D'Arcy 


and  Judge  Normile  both  became  convinced  that  the 
Catholic  Church  is  of  human  origin,  that  its  creed  is 
not  true,  that  it  is  the  enemy  of  progress,  and  the  foe 
of  freedom.  It  may  be  that  they  were  in  part  led  to 
these  conclusions  by  the  conduct  of  their  "  warm 
personal  friends." 

It  is  claimed  that  these  men,  Henry  D'Arcy  and 
Judge  Normile  "  studied  "  to  convince  -themselves 
"  that  there  was  no  God  ;"  that  "  they  went  back  to 
Paganism  and  lived  among  the  ancients,"  and  that 
they  soon  revelled  "  in  the  grossness  of  Paganism." 
If  they  went  back  to  Paganism,  they  certainly  found 
plenty  of  gods.  The  Pagans  filled  heaven  and 
earth  with  deities.  The  Catholics  have  only  three, 
while  the  Pagans  had  hundreds.  And  yet  there  were 
some  very  good  Pagans.  By  associating  with  So 
crates  and  Plato  one  would  not  necessarily  become 
a  groveling  wretch.  Zeno  was  not  altogether  abom 
inable.  He  would  compare  favorably,  at  least,  with 
the  average  pope.  Aristotle  was  not  entirely  despic 
able,  although  wrong,  it  may  be,  in  many  things. 
Epicurus  was  temperate,  frugal  and  serene.  He 
perceived  the  beauty  of  use,  and  celebrated  the  mar 
riage  of  virtue  and  joy.  He  did  not  teach  his  dis 
ciples  to  revel  in  grossness,  although  his  maligners 
have  made  this  charge.  Cicero  was  a  Pagan,  and 


yet  he  uttered  some  very  sublime  and  generous 
sentiments.  Among  other  things,  he  said  this  : 
"When  we  say  that  we  should  love  Romans,  but  not 
foreigners,  we  destroy  the  bond  of  universal  brother 
hood  and  drive  from  our  hearts  charity  and  justice." 

Suppose  a  Pagan  had  written  about  "  two  warm 
personal  friends  "  of  his,  who  had  joined  the  Catholic 
Church,  and  suppose  he  had  said  this  :  "Although 
our  two  warm  personal  friends  have  both  died  by 
their  own  hands,  and  although  both  have  gone  to 
the  lowest  hell,  and  are  now  suffering  inconceivable 
agonies,  we  have  no  right  to  feel  any  special  con 
cern  about  them  or  about  their  sufferings ;  and,  to 
speak  frankly,  we  care  nothing  for  their  agonies, 
nothing  for  their  tears,  and  we  mention  them  only  to 
keep  other  Pagans  from  joining  that  blasphemous 
and  ignorant  church.  Both  of  our  friends  were 
raised  as  Pagans,  both  were  educated  in  our  holy  re 
ligion,  and  both  had  read  the  works  of  our  greatest 
and  wisest  authors,  and  yet  they  fell  into  apostasy, 
and  studied  day  and  night,  in  season  and  out  of 
season,  to  convince  themselves  that  a  young  car 
penter  of  Palestine  was  in  fact,  Jupiter,  whom  we  call 
Stator,  the  creator,  the  sustainer  and  governor  of 

It  is  probable  that  the  editor  of  the  Watchman 


was  perfectly  conscientious  in  his  attack  on  the  dead. 
Nothing  but  a  sense  of  religious  duty  could  in 
duce  any  man  to  attack  the  character  of  a  "  warm 
personal  friend,"  and  to  say  that  although  the  friend 
was  in  hell,  he\  felt  no  special  concern  as  to  his 

The  Watchman  seems  to  think  that  it  is  hardly 
probable  or  possible  that  a  sane  Catholic  should  be 
come  an  infidel.  People  of  every  religion  feel  sub 
stantially  in  this  way.  It  is  probable  that  the  Mo 
hammedan  is  of  the  opinion  that  no  sane  believer  in 
the  religion  of  Islam  could  possibly  become  a  Cath 
olic.  Probably  there  are  no  sane  Mohammedans.  I 
do  not  know. 

Now,  it  seems  to  me,  that  when  a  sane  Catholic 
reads  the  history  of  his  church,  of  the  Inquisition,  of 
centuries  of  flame  and  sword,  of  philosophers  and 
thinkers  tortured,  flayed  and  burned  by  the  "  Bride 
of  God,"  and  of  all  the  cruelties  of  Christian  years, 
he  may  reasonably  come  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
Church  of  Rome  is  not  the  best  possible  church  in 
this,  the  best  possible  of  all  worlds. 

It  would  hardly  impeach  his  sanity  if,  after  reading 
the  history  of  superstition,  he  should  denounce  the 
Hierarchy,  from  priest  to  pope.  The  truth  is,  the 
real  opinions  of  all  men  are  perfectly  honest  no 


matter  whether  they  are  for  or  against  the  Catholic 
creed.  All  intelligent  people  are  intellectually  hos 
pitable.  Every  man  who  knows  something  of  the 
operations  of  his  own  mind  is  absolutely  certain  that 
his  wish  has  not,  to  his  knowledge,  influenced  his 
judgment.  He  may  admit  that  his  wish  has  influenced 
his  speech,  but  he  must  certainly  know  that  it  has  not 
affected  his  judgment. 

In  other  words,  a  man  cannot  cheat  himself  in  a 
game  of  solitaire  and  really  believe  that  he  has  won 
the  game.  No  matter  what  the  appearance  of  the 
cards  may  be,  he  knows  whether  the  game  was  lost 
or  won.  So,  men  may  say  that  their  judgment  is  a 
certain  way,  and  they  may  so  affirm  in  accordance 
with  their  wish,  but  neither  the  wish,  nor  the  decla 
ration  can  affect  the  real  judgment.  So,  a  man  must 
know  whether  he  believes  a  certain  creed  or  not,  or, 
at  least,  what  the  real  state  of  his  mind  is.  When 
a  man  tells  me  that  he  believes  in  the  supernatural, 
in  the  miraculous, and  in  the  inspiration  of  the  Scrip 
tures,  I  take  it  for  granted  that  he  is  telling  the 
truth,  although  it  seems  impossible  to  me  that  the 
man  could  reach  that  conclusion.  When  another 
tells  me  that  he  does  not  know  whether  there  is  a 
Supreme  Being  or  not,  but  that  he  does  not  be 
lieve  in  the  supernatural,  and  is  perfectly  satisfied 


that  the  Scriptures  are  for  the  most  part  false  and 
barbarous,  I  implicitly  believe  every  word  he  says. 

I  admit  cheerfully  that  there  are  many  millions 
of  men  and  women  who  believe  what  to  me  seems 
impossible  and  infinitely  absurd  ;  and,  undoubtedly, 
what  I  believe  seems  to  them  equally  impossible. 

Let  us  give  to  others  the  liberty  which  we  claim 
for  ourselves. 

The  Watchman  seems  to  think  that  unbelief, 
especially  when  coupled  with  what  they  call "  the  sins 
of  the  flesh,"  is  the  lowest  possible  depth,  and  tells  us 
that  "robbers  maybe  devout,"  "murderers  peni 
tent,"  and  "  drunkards  reverential." 

In  some  of  these  statements  the  Watchman  is 
probably  correct.  There  have  been  "  devout  rob 
bers."  There  have  been  gentlemen  of  the  high 
way,  agents  of  the  road,  who  carried  sacred  images, 
who  bowed,  at  holy  shrines  for  the  purpose  of 
securing  success.  For  many  centuries  the  devout 
Catholics  robbed  the  Jews.  The  devout  Ferdinand 
and  Isabella  were  great  robbers.  A  great  many 
popes  have  indulged  in  this  theological  pastime,  not 
to  speak  of  the  rank  and  file.  Yes,  the  Watchman 
is  right.  There  is  nothing  in  robbery  that  necessa 
rily  interferes  with  devotion. 

There  have  been  penitent  murderers,  and  most 


murderers,  unless  impelled  by  a  religious  sense  of 
duty  to  God,  have  been  penitent.  David,  with 
dying  breath,  advised  his  son  to  murder  the  old 
friends  of  his  father.  He  certainly  was  not  penitent. 
Undoubtedly  Torquemada  murdered  without  re 
morse,  and  Calvin  burned  his  "  warm  personal 
friend  "  to  gain  the  applause  of  God.  Philip  the 
Second  was  a  murderer,  not  penitent,  because  he 
deemed  it  his  duty.  The  same  may  be  said  of  the 
Duke  of  Alva,  and  of  thousands  of  others. 

Robert  Burns  was  not,  according  to  his  own 
account,  strictly  virtuous,  and  yet  I  like  him  better 
than  I  do  those  who  planned  and  carried  into  bloody 
execution  the  massacre  of  St.  Bartholomew. 

Undoubtedly  murderers  have  been  penitent.  A 
man  in  California  cut  the  throat  of  a  woman,  although 
she  begged  for  mercy,  saying  at  the  same  time  that 
she  was  not  prepared  to  die.  He  cared  nothing  for 
her  prayers.  He  was  tried,  convicted  and  sentenced 
to  death.  He  made  a  motion  for  a  new  trial.  This 
was  denied.  He  appealed  to  the  governor,  but  the 
executive  refused  to  interfere.  Then  he  became 
penitent  and  experienced  religion.  On  the  scaffold 
he  remarked  that  he  was  going  to  heaven  ;  that  his 
only  regret  was  that  he  would  not  meet  the  woman 
he  had  murdered,  as  she  was  not  a  Christian 


when  she  died.  Undoubtedly  murderers  can  be 

An  old  Spaniard  was  dying.  He  sent  for  a  priest 
to  administer  the  last  sacraments  of  the  church. 
The  priest  told  him  that  he  must  forgive  all  his  ene 
mies.  "  I  have  no  enemies,"  said  the  dying  man, 
"  I  killed  the  last  one  three  weeks  ago."  Undoubt 
edly  murderers  can  be  penitent. 

So,  I  admit  that  drunkards  have  been  pious  and 
reverential,  and  I  might  add,  honest  and  generous. 

Some  good  Catholics  and  some  good  Protestants 
have  enjoyed  a  hospitable  glass,  and  there  have  been 
priests  who  used  the  blood  of  the  grape  for  other 
than  a  sacramental  purpose.  Even  Luther,  a  good 
Catholic  in  his  day,  a  reformer,  a  Doctor  of  Divinity, 
gave  to  the  world  this  couplet : 

"  Who  loves  not  woman,  wine  and  song, 
Will  live  a  fool  his  whole  life  long." 

The  Watchman,  in  effect,  says  that  a  devout  robber 
is  better  than  an  infidel ;  that  a  penitent  murderer 
is  superior  to  a  freethinker,  in  the  sight  of  God. 

Another  curious  thing  in  this  article  is  that  after 
sending  both  men  to  hell,  the  Watchman  says  : 
"As  to  their  moral  habits  we  know  nothing." 

It  may  then  be  taken  for  granted,  if  these  "  warm 
personal  friends"  knew  nothing  against  the  dead, 


that  their  lives  were,  at  least,  what  the  church  calls 
moral.  We  know,  if  we  know  anything,  that  there 
is  no  necessary  connection  between  what  is  called 
religion  and  morality.  Certainly  there  were  millions 
of  moral  people,  those  who  loved  mercy  and  dealt 
honestly,  before  the  Catholic  Church  existed.  The 
virtues  were  well  known,  and  practiced,  before  a 
triple  crown  surrounded  the  cunning  brain  of  an 
Italian  Vicar  of  God,  and  before  the  flames  of  the 
Auto  da  fe  delighted  the  hearts  of  a  Christian  mob. 
Thousands  of  people  died  for  the  right,  before  the 
wrong  organized  the  infallible  church. 

But  why  should  any  man  deem  it  his  duty  or  feel 
it  a  pleasure  to  say  harsh  and  cruel  things  of  the 
dead  ?  Why  pierce  the  brow  of  death  with  the 
thorns  of  hatred  ?  Suppose  the  editor  of  the  Watch 
man  had  died,  and  Judge  Normile  had  been  the 
survivor,  would  the  infidel  and  scoffer  have  attacked 
the  unreplying  dead  ? 

Henry  D'Arcy  I  did  not  know ;  but  Judge  Nor 
mile  was  my  friend  and  I  was  his.  Although  we 
met  but  a  few  times,  he  excited  my  admiration  and 
respect.  He  impressed  me  as  being  an  exceedingly 
intelligent  man,  well  informed  on  many  subjects,  of 
varied  reading,  possessed  of  a  clear  and  logical  mind, 
a  poetic  temperament,  enjoying  the  beautiful  things 


in  literature  and  art,  and  the  noble  things  in  life.  He 
gave  his  opinions  freely,  but  without  the  least  arro 
gance,  and  seemed  perfectly  willing  that  others 
should  enjoy  the  privilege  of  differing  with  him. 
He  was,  so  far  as  I  could  perceive,  a  gentleman, 
tender  of  the  feelings  of  others,  free  and  manly  in 
his  bearing,  "  of  most  excellent  fancy,"  and  a  most 
charming  and  agreeable  companion. 

According,  however,  to  the  Watchman,  such  a 
man  is  far  below  a  "  devout  robber  "  or  a  "  penitent 
murderer."  Is  it  possible  that  an  assassin  like 
Ravillac  is  far  better  than  a  philosopher  like  Voltaire  ; 
and  that  all  the  Catholic  robbers  and  murderers  who 
retain  their  faith,  give  greater  delight  to  God  than 
the  Humboldts,  Haeckels  and  Darwins  who  have 
filled  the  world  with  intellectual  light  ? 

Possibly  the  Catholic  Church  is  mistaken.  Possi 
bly  the  Watchman  is  in  error,  and  possibly  there 
may  be  for  the  erring,  even  in  another  world,  some 
asylum  besides  hell. 

Judge  Normile  died  by  his  own  hand.  Certainly 
he  was  not  afraid  of  the  future.  He  was  not  appalled 
by  death.  He  died  by  his  own  hand.  Can  any 
thing  be  more  pitiful — more  terrible  ?  How  can  a 
man  in  the  flowing  tide  and  noon  of  life  destroy  him 
self?  What  storms  there  must  have  been  within  the 


brain ;  what  tempests  must  have  raved  and  wrecked ; 
what  lightnings  blinded  and  revealed ;  what  hur 
rying  clouds  obscured  and  hid  the  stars;  what  mon 
strous  shapes  emerged  from  gloom ;  what  darkness 
fell  upon  the  day  ;  what  visions  filled  the  night ;  how 
the  light  failed  ;  how  paths  were  lost  ;  how  high 
ways  disappeared ;  how  chasms  yawned  ;  until  one 
thought — the  thought  of  death — swift,  compassionate 
and  endless — became  the  insane  monarch  of  the  mind. 

Standing  by  the  prostrate  form  of  one  who  thus 
found  death,  it  is  far  better  to  pity  than  to  revile — to 
kiss  the  clay  than  curse  the  man. 

The  editor  of  the  Watchman  has  done  himself  in 
justice.  He  has  not  injured  the  dead,  but  the  living. 

I  am  an  infidel — an  unbeliever — and  yet  I  hope 
that  all  the  children  of  men  may  find  peace  and  joy. 
No  matter  how  they  leave  this  world,  from  altar  or 
from  scaffold,  crowned  with  virtue  or  stained  with 
crime,  I  hope  that  good  may  come  to  all. 





1DO  not  know  whether  self-killing  is  on  the  in 
crease  or  not.  If  it  is,  then  there  must  be,  on 
the  average,  more  trouble,  more  sorrow,  more  fail 
ure,  and,  consequently,  more  people  are  driven  to 
despair.  In  civilized  life  there  is  a  great  struggle, 
great  competition*  and  many  fail.  To  fail  in  a  great 
city  is  like  being  wrecked  at  sea.  In  the  country  a 
man  has  friends;  he  can  get  a  little  credit,  a  little  help, 
but  in  the  city  it  is  different.  The  man  is  lost  in 
the  multitude.  In  the  roar  of  the  streets,  his  cry  is 
not  heard.  Death  becomes  his  only  friend.  Death 
promises  release  from  want,  from  hunger  and  pain, 
and  so  the  poor  wretch  lays  down  his  burden,  dashes 
it  from  his  shoulders  and  falls  asleep. 

To  me  all  this  seems  very  natural.  The  wonder 
is  that  so  many  endure  and  suffer  to  the  natural  end, 
that  so  many  nurse  the  spark  of  life  in  huts  and 
prisons,  keep  it  and  guard  it  through  years  of  misery 

•These  letters  were  published  in  the  New  York  World,  1894.  (37$) 

376  is  SUICIDE  A  SIN? 

and  want ;  support  it  by  beggary,  by  eating  the 
crust  found  in  the  gutter,  and  to  whom  it  only  gives 
days  of  weariness  and  nights  of  fear  and  dread. 
Why  should  the  man,  sitting  amid  the  wreck  of  all 
he  had,  the  loved  ones  dead,  friends  lost,  seek  to 
lengthen,  to  preserve  his  life  ?  What  can  the  future 
have  for  him  ? 

Under  many  circumstances  a  man  has  the  right 
to  kill  himself.  When  life  is  of  no  value  to  him, 
when  he  can  be  of  no  real  assistance  to  others,  why 
should  a  man  continue?  When  he  is  of  no  benefit, 
when  he  is  a  burden  to  those  he  loves,  why  should 
he  remain  ?  The  old  idea  was  that  God  made  us 
and  placed  us  here  for  a  purpose  and  that  it  was  our 
duty  to  remain  until  he  called  us.  The  world  is 
outgrowing  this  absurdity.  What  pleasure  can  it 
give  God  to  see  a  man  devoured  by  a  cancer  ;  to 
see  the  quivering  flesh  slowly  eaten  ;  to  see  the 
nerves  throbbing  with  pain  ?  Is  this  a  festival  for 
God  ?  Why  should  the  poor  wretch  stay  and 
suffer  ?  A  little  morphine  would  give  him  sleep — the 
agony  would  be  forgotten  and  he  would  pass  un 
consciously  from  happy  dreams  to  painless  death. 

If  God  determines  all  births  and  deaths,  of  what 
use  is  medicine  and  why  should  doctors  defy  with 
pills  and  powders,  the  decrees  of  God  ?  No  one, 

is  SUICIDE  A  SIN?  377 

except  a  few  insane,  act  now  according  to  this  child 
ish  superstition.  Why  should  a  man,  surrounded  by 
flames,  in  the  midst  of  a  burning  building,  from 
which  there  is  no  escape,  hesitate  to  put  a  bullet 
through  his  brain  or  a  dagger  in  his  heart  ?  Would 
it  give  God  pleasure  to  see  him  burn  ?  When 
did  the  man  lose  the  right  of  self-defence  ? 

So,  when  a  man  has  committed  some  awful  crime, 
why  should  he  stay  and  ruin  his  family  and  friends  ? 
Why  should  he  add  to  the  injury  ?  Why  should  he 
live,  filling  his  days  and  nights,  and  the  days  and 
nights  of  others,  with  grief  and  pain,  with  agony  and 
tears  ? 

Why  should  a  man  sentenced  to  imprisonment  for 
life  hesitate  to  still  his  heart  ?  The  grave  is  better 
than  the  cell.  Sleep  is  sweeter  than  the  ache  of  toil. 
The  dead  have  no  masters. 

So  the  poor  girl,  betrayed  and  deserted,  the  door 
of  home  closed  against  her,  the  faces  of  friends 
averted,  no  hand  that  will  help,  no  eye  that  will 
soften  with  pity,  the  future  an  abyss  filled  with 
monstrous  shapes  of  dread  and  fear,  her  mind  racked 
by  fragments  of  thoughts  like  clouds  broken  by 
storm,  pursued,  surrounded  by  the  serpents  of  re 
morse,  flying  from  horrors  too  great  to  bear,  rushes 
with  joy  through  the  welcome  door  of  death. 

378  is  SUICIDE  A  SIN  ? 

Undoubtedly  there  are  many  cases  of  perfectly 
justifiable  suicide — cases  in  which  not  to  end  life 
would  be  a  mistake,  sometimes  almost  a  crime. 

As  to  the  necessity  of  death,  each  must  decide 
for  himself.  And  if  a  man  honestly  decides  that 
death  is  best — best  for  him  and  others — and  acts 
upon  the  decision,  why  should  he  be  blamed  ? 

Certainly  the  man  who  kills  himself  is  not  a 
physical  coward.  He  may  have  lacked  moral 
courage,  but  not  physical.  It  may  be  said  that 
some  men  fight  duels  because  they  are  afraid  to 
decline.  They  are  between  two  fires — the  chance 
of  death  and  the  certainty  of  dishonor,  and  they 
take  the  chance  of  death.  So  the  Christian  mar 
tyrs  were,  according  to  their  belief,  between  two 
fires — the  flames  of  the  fagot  that  could  burn  but 
for  a  few  moments, and  the  fires  of  God,  that  were 
eternal.  And  they  chose  the  flames  of  the  fagot. 

Men  who  fear  death  to  that  degree  that  they 
will  bear  all  the  pains  and  pangs  that  nerves  can 
feel.rather  than  die,  cannot  afford  to  call  the  suicide 
a  coward.  It  does  not  seem  to  me  that  Brutus  was 
a  coward  or  that  Seneca  was.  Surely  Antony  had 
nothing  left  to  live  for.  Cato  was  not  a  craven.  He 
acted  on  his  judgment.  So  with  hundreds  of  others 
whp  felt  that  they  had  reached  the  end — that  the 

is  SUICIDE  A  SIN  ?  379 

journey  was  done,  the  voyage  was  over,  and,  so 
feeling,  stopped.  It  seems  certain  that  the  man  who 
commits  suicide,  who  "  does  the  thing  that  ends  all 
other  deeds,  that  shackles  accident  and  bolts  up 
change  "  is  not  lacking  in  physical  courage. 

If  men  had  the  courage,  they  would  not  linger  in 
prisons,  in  almshouses,  in  hospitals  ;  they  would  not 
bear  the  pangs  of  incurable  disease,  the  stains  of 
dishonor  ;  they  would  not  live  in  filth  and  want,  in 
poverty  and  hunger,  neither  would  they  wear  the 
chain  of  slavery.  All  this  can  be  accounted  for  only 
by  the  fear  of  death  or  "  of  something  after." 

Seneca,  knowing  that  Nero  intended  to  take  his 
life,  had  no  fear.  He  knew  that  he  could  defeat 
the  Emperor.  He  knew  that  "  at  the  bottom  of 
every  river,  in  the  coil  of  every  rope,  on  the  point 
of  every  dagger,  Liberty  sat  and  smiled."  He 
knew  that  it  was  his  own  fault  if  he  allowed  him 
self  to  be  tortured  to  death  by  his  enemy.  He 
said  :  "  There  is  this  blessing,  that  while  life  has 
but  one  entrance,  it  has  exits  innumerable,  and  as 
I  choose  the  house  in  which  I  live,  the  ship  in  which 
I  will  sail,  so  will  I  choose  the  time  and  manner  of 
my  death." 

To  me  this  is  not  cowardly,  but  manly  and  noble. 

Under  the  Roman  law  persons  found  guilty  of 

380  ^        IS   SUICIDE    A    SIN  ? 

certain  offences  were  not  only  destroyed,  but  their 
blood  was  polluted  and  their  children  became  out 
casts.  If,  however,  they  died  before  conviction 
their  children  were  saved.  Many  committed  sui 
cide  to  save  their  babes.  Certainly  they  were  not 
cowards.  Although  guilty  of  great  crimes  they 
had  enough  of  honor,  of  manhood,  left  to  save  their 
innocent  children.  This  was  not  cowardice. 

Without  doubt  many  suicides  are  caused  by  in 
sanity.  Men  lose  their  property.  The  fear  of  the 
future  overpowers  them.  Things  lose  proportion, 
they  lose  poise  and  balance,  and  in  a  flash,  a  gleam 
of  frenzy,  kill  themselves.  The  disappointed  in 
love,  broken  in  heart — the  light  fading  from  their 
lives — seek  the  refuge  of  death. 

Those  who  take  their  lives  in  painful,  barbarous 
ways — who  mangle  their  throats  with  broken  glass, 
dash  themselves  from  towers  and  roofs,  take  poisons 
that  torture  like  the  rack — such  persons  must  be  in 
sane.  But  those  who  take  the  facts  into  account, 
who  weigh  the  arguments  for  and  against,  and  who 
decide  that  death  is  best — the  only  good — and  then 
resort  to  reasonable  means,  may  be,  so  far  as  I  can 
see,  in  full  possession  of  their  minds. 

Life  is  not  the  same  to  all — to  some  a  blessing, 
to  some  a  curse,  to  some  not  much  in  any  way. 

IS    SUICIDE    A   SIN?  381 

Some  leave  it  with  unspeakable  regret,  some  with 
the  keenest  joy  and  some  with  indifference. 

Religion,  or  the  decadence  of  religion,has  a  bear 
ing  upon  the  number  of  suicides.  The  fear  of  God, 
of  judgment,  of  eternal  pain  will  stay  the  hand,  and 
people  so  believing  will  suffer  here  until  relieved  by- 
natural  death.  A  belief  in  eternal  agony  beyond 
the  grave  will  cause  such  believers  to  suffer  the  pangs 
of  this  life.  When  there  is  no  fear  of  the  future, 
when  death  is  believed  to  be  a  dreamless  sleep,  men 
have  less  hesitation  about  ending  their  lives.  On 
the  other  hand,  orthodox  religion  has  driven  mill 
ions  to  insanity.  It  has  caused  parents  to  murder 
their  children  and  many  thousands  to  destroy  them 
selves  and  others. 

It  seems  probable  that  all  real,  genuine  orthodox 
believers  who  kill  themselves  must  be  insane,  and  to 
such  a  degree  that  their  belief  is  forgotten.  God 
and  hell  are  out  of  their  minds. 

I  am  satisfied  that  many  who  commit  suicide  are 
insane,  many  are  in  the  twilight  or  dusk  of  insanity, 
and  many  are  perfectly  sane. 

The  law  we  have  in  this  State  making  it  a  crime 
to  attempt  suicide  is  cruel  and  absurd  and  calculated 
to  increase  the  number  of  successful  suicides.  When 
a  man  has  suffered  so  much,  when  he  has  been  so 

382  IS   SUICIDE   A   SIN? 

persecuted  and  pursued  by  disaster  that  he  seeks  the 
rest  and  sleep  of  death,  why  should  the  State  add  to 
the  sufferings  of  that  man  ?  A  man  seeking  death, 
knowing  that  he  will  be  punished  if  he  fails,  will 
take  extra  pains  and  precautions  to  make  death 

This  law  was  born  of  superstition,  passed  by 
thoughtlessness  and  enforced  by  ignorance  and 

When  the  house  of  life  becomes  a  prison,  when 
the  horizon  has  shrunk  and  narrowed  to  a  cell,  and 
when  the  convict  longs  for  the  liberty  of  death, 
why  should  the  effort  to  escape  be  regarded  as  a 
crime  ? 

Of  course,  I  regard  life  from  a  natural  point  of 
view.  I  do  not  take  gods,  heavens  or  hells  into  ac 
count.  My  horizon  is  the  known,  and  my  estimate 
of  life  is  based  upon  what  I  know  of  life  here  in  this 
world.  People  should  not  suffer  for  the  sake  of 
supernatural  beings  or  for  other  worlds  or  the  hopes 
and  fears  of  some  future  state.  Our  joys,  our  suffer 
ings  and  our  duties  are  here. 

The  law  of  New  York  about  the  attempt  to  com 
mit  suicide  and  the  law  as  to  divorce  are  about  equal. 
Both  are  idiotic.  Law  cannot  prevent  suicide.  Those 
who  have  lost  all  fear  of  death,  care  nothing  for  law 

IS   SUICIDE   A   SIN?  383 

and  its  penalties.  Death  is  liberty,  absolute  and 

We  should  remember  that  nothing  happens  but 
the  natural.  Back  of  every  suicide  and  every  attempt 
to  commit  suicide  is  the  natural  and  efficient  cause. 
Nothing  happens  by  chance.  In  this  world  the  facts 
touch  each  other.  There  is  no  space  between — no 
room  for  chance.  Given  a  certain  heart  and  brain, 
certain  conditions,  and  suicide  is  the  necessary  result 
If  we  wish  to  prevent  suicide  we  must  change  con 
ditions.  We  must  by  education,  by  invention,  by 
art,  by  civilization,  add.  to  the  value  of  the  average 
life.  We  must  cultivate  the  brain  and  heart — do 
away  with  false  pride  and  false  modesty.  We  must 
become  generous  enough  to  help  our  fellows  with 
out  degrading  them.  We  must  make  industry — 
useful  work  of  all  kinds — honorable.  We  must 
mingle  a  little  affection  with  our  charity — a  little 
fellowship.  We  should  allow  those  who  have  sinned 
to  really  reform.  We  should  not  think  only  of 
what  the  wicked  have  done,  but  we  should  think  of 
what  we  have  wanted  to  do.  People  do  not  hate 
the  sick.  Why  should  they,  despise  the  mentally 
weak — the  diseased  in  brain  ? 

Our  actions  are  the  fruit,  the  result,  of  circum 
stances — of  conditions — and  we  do  as  we  must. 

384  IS  SUICIDE  A  SIN  ? 

This  great  truth  should  fill  the  heart  with  pity  for 
the  failures  of  our  race. 

Sometimes  I  have  wondered  that  Christians  de 
nounced  the  suicide  ;  that  in  olden  times  they  buried 
him  where  the  roads  crossed,  drove  a  stake  through 
his  body,  and  then  took  his  property  from  his 
children  and  gave  it  to  the  State. 

If  Christians  would  only  think,  they  would  see 
that  orthodox  religion  rests  upon  suicide — that  man 
was  redeemed  by  suicide,  and  that  without  suicide 
the  whole  world  would  have  been  lost. 

If  Christ  were  God,  then  he  had  the  power  to 
protect  himself  from  the  Jews  without  hurting  them. 
But  instead  of  using  his  power  he  allowed  them  to 
take  his  life. 

If  a  strong  man  should  allow  a  few  little  children 
to  hack  him  to  death  with  knives  when  he  could 
easily  have  brushed  them  aside,  would  we  not  say 
that  he  committed  suicide  ? 

There  is  no  escape.  If  Christ  were,  in  fact,  God, 
and  allowed  the  Jews  to  kill  him,  then  he  con 
sented  to  his  own  death — refused,  though  perfectly 
able,  to  defend  and  protect  himself,  and  was,  in 
fact,  a  suicide. 

We  cannot  reform  the  world  by  law  or  by  super 
stition.  As  long  as  there  shall  be  pain  and  failure, 

IS   SUICIDE   A    SIN  ?  385 

want  and  sorrow,  agony  and  crime,  men  and  women 
will  untie  life's  knot  and  seek  the  peace  of  death. 

To  the  hopelessly  imprisoned — to  the  dishonored 
and  despised — to  those  who  have  failed,  who  have 
no  future,  no  hope — to  the  abandoned,  the  broken 
hearted,  to  those  who  are  only  remnants  and  frag 
ments  of  men  and  women — how  consoling,  how  en 
chanting  is  the  thought  of  death  ! 

And  even  to  the  most  fortunate,  death  at  last  is  a 
welcome  deliverer.  Death  is  as  natural  and  as  mer 
ciful  as  life.  When  we  have  journeyed  long — when 
we  are  weary — when  we  wish  for  the  twilight,  for 
the  dusk,  for  the  cool  kisses  of  the  night — when  the 
senses  are  dull — when  the  pulse  is  faint  and  low — 
when  the  mists  gather  on  the  mirror  of  memory — 
when  the  past  is  almost  forgotten,  the  present  hardly 
perceived — when  the  future  has  but  empty  hands — 
death  is  as  welcome  as  a  strain  of  music. 

After  all,  death  is  not  so  terrible  as  joyless  life. 
Next  to  eternal  happiness  is  to  sleep  in  the  soft 
clasp  of  the  cool  earth,  disturbed  by  no  dream, 
by  no  thought,  by  no  pain,  by  no  fear,  unconscious 
of  all  and  forever. 

The  wonder  is  that  so  many  live,  that  in  spite  of 
rags  and  want,  in  spite  of  tenement  and  gutter,  of 
filth  and  pain,  they  limp  and  stagger  and  crawl 

386  is  SUICIDE  A  SIN  ? 

beneath  their  burdens  to  the  natural  end.  The 
wonder  is  that  so  few  of  the  miserable  are  brave 
enough  to  die — that  so  many  are  terrified  by  the 
"  something  after  death" — by  the  spectres  and 
phantoms  of  superstition. 

Most  people  are  in  love  with  life.  How  they  cling 
to  it  in  the  arctic  snows — how  they  struggle  in  the 
waves  and  currents  of  the  sea — how  they  linger  in 
famine — how  they  fight  disaster  and  despair !  On 
the  crumbling  edge  of  death  they  keep  the  flag  fly 
ing  and  go  down  at  last  full  of  hope  and  courage. 

But  many  have  not  such  natures.  They  cannot 
bear  defeat.  They  are  disheartened  by  disaster. 
They  lie  down  on  the  field  of  conflict  and  give  the 
earth  their  blood. 

They  are  our  unfortunate  brothers  and  sisters. 
We  should  not  curse  or  blame — we  should  pity.  On 
their  pallid  faces  our  tears  should  fall. 

One  of  the  best  men  I  ever  knew,  with  an  affec 
tionate  wife,  a  charming  and  loving  daughter,  com 
mitted  suicide.  He  was  a  man  of  generous  impulses. 
His  heart  was  loving  and  tender.  He  was  conscien 
tious,  and  so  sensitive  that  he  blamed  himself  for 
having  done  what  at  the  time  he  thought  was  wise 
and  best.  He  was  the  victim  of  his  virtues.  Let  us 
be  merciful  in  our  judgments. 

IS   SUICIDE   A   SIN?  387 

All  we  can  say  is  that  the  good  and  the  bad,  the 
loving  and  the  malignant,  the  conscientious  and  the 
vicious,  the  educated  and  the  ignorant,  actuated  by 
many  motives,  urged  and  pushed  by  circumstances 
and  conditions — sometimes  in  the  calm  of  judgment, 
sometimes  in  passion's  storm  and  stress,  sometimes 
in  whirl  and  tempest  of  insanity — raise  their  hands 
against  themselves  and  desperately  put  out  the  light 
of  life. 

Those  who  attempt  suicide  should  not  be  punished. 
If  they  are  insane  they  should  if  possible  be  restored 
to  reason  ;  if  sane,  they  should  be  reasoned  with, 
calmed  and  assisted. 




IN  the  article  written  by  me  about  suicide  the 
ground  was  taken  that  "  under  many  circum 
stances  a  man  has  the  right  to  kill  himself." 

This  has  been  attacked  with  great  fury  by  clergy 
men,  editors  and  the  writers  of  letters.  These  peo 
ple  contend  that  the  right  of  self-destruction  does 
not  and  cannot  exist.  They  insist  that  life  is  the 
gift  of  God,  and  that  he  only  has  the  right  to  end 
the  days  of  men ;  that  it  is  our  duty  to  bear  the 
sorrows  that  he  sends  with  grateful  patience.  Some 
have  denounced  suicide  as  the  worst  of  crimes — worse 
than  the  murder  of  another. 

The  first  question,  then,  is  : 

Has  a  man  under  any  circumstances  the  right  to 
kill  himself? 

A  man  is  being  slowly  devoured  by  a  cancer — 
his  agony  is  intense — his  suffering  all  that  nerves 
can  feel.  His  life  is  slowly  being  taken.  Is  this  the 
work  of  the  good  God  ?  Did  the  compassionate  God 


IS   SUICIDE   A   SIN  ?  389 

create  the  cancer  so  that  it  might  feed  on  the  quiver- 
ering  flesh  of  this  victim  ? 

This  man,  suffering  agonies  beyond  the  imagina 
tion  to  conceive,  is  of  no  use  to  himself.  His  life  is 
but  a  succession  of  pangs.  He  is  of  no  use  to  his  wife, 
his  children,  his  friends  or  society.  Day  after  day 
he  is  rendered  unconscious  by  drugs  that  numb  the 
nerves  and  put  the  brain  to  sleep. 

Has  he  the  right  to  render  himself  unconscious  ? 
Is  it  proper  for  him  to  take  refuge  in  sleep  ? 

If  there  be  a  good  God  I  cannot  believe  that  he 
takes  pleasure  in  the  sufferings  of  men — that  he 
gloats  over  the  agonies  of  his  children.  If  there 
be  a  good  God,  he  will,  to  the  extent  of  his  power, 
lessen  the  evils  of  life. 

So  I  insist  that  the  man  being  eaten  by  the  can 
cer — a  burden  to  himself  and  others,  useless  in 
every  way — has  the  right  to  end  his  pain  and  pass 
through  happy  sleep  to  dreamless  rest. 

But  those  who  have  answered  me  would  say  to 
this  man  :  "It  is  your  duty  to  be  devoured.  The 
good  God  wishes  you  to  suffer.  Your  life  is  the 
gift  of  God.  You  hold  it  in  trust  and  you  have 
no  right  to  end  it.  The  cancer  is  the  creation  of 
God  and  it  is  your  duty  to  furnish  it  with  food." 

Take  another  case  :  A  man  is  on  a  burning  ship, 

39O  IS   SUICIDE   A   SIN? 

the  crew  and  the  rest  of  the  passengers  have  es 
caped — gone  in  the  lifeboats — and  he  is  left  alone. 
In  the  wide  horizon  there  is  no  sail,  no  sign  of 
help.  He  cannot  swim.  If  he  leaps  into  the  sea 
he  drowns,  if  he  remains  on  the  ship  he  burns. 
In  any  event  he  can  live  but  a  few  moments. 

Those  who  have  answered  me,  those  who  insist 
that  under  no  circumstances  a  man  has  the  right 
to  take  his  life,  would  say  to  this  man  on  the  deck, 
"  Remain  where  you  are.  It  is  the  desire  of  your 
loving,  heavenly  Father  that  you  be  clothed  in 
flame — that  you  slowly  roast — that  your  eyes  be 
scorched  to  blindness  and  that  you  die  insane  with 
pain.  Your  life  is  not  your  own,  only  the  agony 
is  yours." 

I  would  say  to  this  man  :  Do  as  you  wish.  If 
you  prefer  drowning  to  burning,  leap  into  the  sea. 
Between  inevitable  evils  you  have  the  right  of 
choice.  You  can  help  no  one,  not  even  God,  by 
allowing  yourself  to  be  burned,  and  you  can  in 
jure  no  one,  not  even  God,  by  choosing  the  easier 

Let  us  suppose  another  case  : 

A  man  has  been  captured  by  savages  in  Central 
Africa.  He  is  about  to  be  tortured  to  death.  His 
captors  are  going  to  thrust  splinters  of  pine  into 

IS    SUICIDE    A    SIN?  391 

his  flesh  and  then  set  them  on  fire.  He  watches 
them  as  they  make  the  preparations.  He  knows 
what  they  are  about  to  do  and  what  he  is  about  to 
suffer.  There  is  no  hope  of  rescue,  of  help.  He 
has  a  vial  of  poison.  He  knows  that  he  can  take 
it  and  in  one  moment  pass  beyond  their  power, 
leaving  to  them  only  the  dead  body. 

Is  this  man  under  obligation  to  keep  his  life  be 
cause  God  gave  it,  until  the  savages  by  torture 
take  it  ?  Are  the  savages  the  agents  of  the  good 
God  ?  Are  they  the  servants  of  the  Infinite  ?  Is 
it  the  duty  of  this  man  to  allow  them  to  wrap  his 
body  in  a  garment  of  flame  ?  Has  he  no  right  to 
defend  himself?  Is  it  the  will  of  God  that  he  die 
by  torture  ?  What  would  any  man  of  ordinary  in 
telligence  do  in  a  case  like  this?  Is  there  room 
for  discussion  ? 

If  the  man  took  the  poison,  shortened  his  life  a 
few  moments,  escaped  the  tortures  of  the  savages, 
is  it  possible  that  he  would  in  another  world  be 
tortured  forever  by  an  infinite  savage  ? 

Suppose  another  case  :  In  the  good  old  days, 
when  the  Inquisition  flourished,  when  men  loved 
their  enemies  and  murdered  their  friends,  many 
frightful  and  ingenious  ways  were  devised  to  touch 
the  nerves  of  pain. 

392  IS    SUICIDE   A    SIN  ? 

Those  who  loved  God,  who  had  been  "  born 
twice,"  would  take  a  fellow-man  who  had  been 
convicted  of  "  heresy,"  lay  him  upon  the  floor  of  a 
dungeon,  secure  his  arms  and  legs  with  chains, 
fasten  him  to  the  earth  so  that  he  could  not  move, 
put  an  iron  vessel,  the  opening  downward,  on  his 
stomach,  place  in  the  vessel  several  rats,  then  tie 
it  securely  to  his  body.  Then  these  worshipers 
of  God  would  wait  until  the  rats,  seeking  food  and 
liberty,  would  gnaw  through  the  body  of  the  vic 

Now,  if  a  man  about  to  be  subjected  to  this  tor 
ture,  had  within  his  hand  a  dagger,  would  it  excite 
the  wrath  of  the  "  good  God,"  if  with  one  quick 
stroke  he  found  the  protection  of  death  ? 

To  this  question  there  can  be  but  one  answer. 

In  the  cases  I  have  supposed  it  seems  to  me 
that  each  person  would  have  the  right  to  destroy 
himself.  It  does  not  seem  possible  that  the  man 
was  under  obligation  to  be  devoured  by  a  cancer ; 
to  remain  upon  the  ship  and  perish  in  flame  ;  to 
throw  away  the  poison  and  be  tortured  to  death  by 
savages  ;  to  drop  the  dagger  and  endure  the 
"  mercies  "  of  the  church. 

If,  in  the  cases  I  have  supposed,  men  would  have 
the  right  to  take  their  lives,  then  I  was  right  when 

is  SUICIDE  A  SIN  ?  393 

I  said  that "  under  many  circumstances  a  man  has 
a  right  to  kill  himself." 

Second. — I  denied  that  persons  who  killed  them 
selves  were  physical  cowards.  They  may  lack  moral 
courage  ;  they  may  exaggerate  their  misfortunes,  lose 


the  sense  of  proportion,  but  the  man  who  plunges 
the  dagger  in  his  heart,  who  sends  the  bullet  through 
his  brain,  who  leaps  from  some  roof  and  dashes  him 
self  against  the  stones  beneath,  is  not  and  cannot  be 
a  physical  coward. 

The  basis  of  cowardice  is  the  fear  of  injury  or  the 
fear  of  death,  and  when  that  fear  is  not  only  gone, 
but  in  its  place  is  the  desire  to  die,  no  matter  by 
what  means,  it  is  impossible  that  cowardice  should  ex 
ist.  The  suicide  wants  the  very  thing  that  a  coward 
fears.  He  seeks  the  very  thing  that  cowardice  en 
deavors  to  escape. 

So,  the  man,  forced  to  a  choice  of  evils,  choosing 
the  less  is  not  a  coward,  but  a  reasonable  man. 

It  must  be  admitted  that  the  suicide  is  honest  with 
himself.  He  is  to  bear  the  injury  ;  if  it  be  one. 
Certainly  there  is  no  hypocrisy,  and  just  as  certainly 
there  is  no  physical  cowardice. 

Is  the  man  who  takes  morphine  rather  than  be 
eaten  to  death  by  a  cancer  a  coward  ? 

Is  the  man  who  leaps  into  the  sea  rather  than  be 

394  is  SUICIDE  A  SIN? 

burned  a  coward  ?  Is  the  man  that  takes  poison 
rather  than  be  tortured  to  death  by  savages  or 
"Christians"  a  coward? 

Third. — I  also  took  the  position  that  some  suicides 
were  sane  ;  that  they  acted  on  their  best  judgment, 
and  that  they  were  in  full  possession  of  their  minds. 
Now,  if  under  some  circumstances,  a  man  has  the 
right  to  take  his  life,  and,  if,  under  such  circumstances, 
he  does  take  his  life,  then  it  cannot  be  said  that  he 
was  insane. 

Most  of  the  persons  who  have  tried  to  answer  me 
have  taken  the  ground  that  suicide  is  not  only  a 
crime,  but  some  of  them  have  said  that  it  is  the 
greatest  of  crimes.  Now,  if  it  be  a  crime,  then  the 
suicide  must  have  been  sane.  So  all  persons  who 
denounce  the  suicide  as  a  criminal  admit  that  he  was 
sane.  Under  the  law,  an  insane  person  is  incapa 
ble  of  committing  a  crime.  All  the  clergymen  who 
have  answered  me,  and  who  have  passionately  as 
serted  that  suicide  is  a  crime,  have  by  that  assertion 
admitted  that  those  who  killed  themselves  were 

They  agree  with  me,  and  not  only  admit,  but  as 
sert  that  "  some  who  have  committed  suicide  were 
sane  and  in  the  full  possession  of  their  minds." 

It  seems  to  me  that  these  three  propositions  have 

is  SUICIDE  A  SIN?  395 

been  demonstrated  to  be  true  :  First,  that  under 
some  circumstances  a  man  has  the  right  to  take  his 
life  ;  second,  that  the  man  who  commits  suicide  is 
not  a  physical  coward,  and,  third,  that  some  who 
have  committed  suicide  were  at  the  time  sane  and 
in  full  possession  of  their  minds. 

Fourth. — I  insisted,  and  still  insist,  that  suicide 
was  and  is  the  foundation  of  the  Christian  religion. 

I  still  insist  that  if  Christ  were  God  he  had  the 
power  to  protect  himself  without  injuring  his  assail 
ants — that  having  that  power  it  was  his  duty  to  use 
it,  and  that  failing  to  use  it  he  consented  to  his  own 
death  and  was  guilty  of  suicide. 

To  this  the  clergy  answer  that  it  was  self-sacri 
fice  for  the  redemption  of  man,  that  he  made  an 
atonement  for  the  sins  of  believers.  These  ideas 
about  redemption  and  atonement  are  born  of  a  be 
lief  in  the  "  fall  of  man,"  on  account  of  the  sins  of 
our  first  "  parents,"  and  of  the  declaration  that  "  with 
out  the  shedding  of  blood  there  is  no  remission  of 
sin."  The  foundation  has  crumbled.  No  intelligent 
person  now  believes  in  the  "  fall  of  man" — that  our 
first  parents  were  perfect,  and  that  their  descendants 
grew  worse  and  worse,  at  least  until  the  coming  of 

Intelligent  men  now  believe  that  ages  and  ages 

396  is  SUICIDE  A  SIN  ? 

before  the  dawn  of  history,  man  was  a  poor,  naked, 
cruel,  ignorant  and  degraded  savage,  whose  lan 
guage  consisted  of  a  few  sounds  of  terror,  of  hatred 
and  delight ;  that  he  devoured  his  fellow-man,  hav 
ing  all  the  vices,  but  not  all  the  virtues  of  the  beasts  ; 
that  the  journey  from  the  den  to  the  home,  the 
palace,  has  been  long  and  painful,  through  many 
centuries  of  suffering,  of  cruelty  and  war  ;  through 
many  ages  of  discovery,  invention,  self-sacrifice  and 

Redemption  and  atonement  are  left  without  a  fact 
on  which  to  rest.  The  idea  that  an  infinite  God, 
creator  of  all  worlds,  came  to  this  grain  of  sand, 
learned  the  trade  of  a  carpenter,  discussed  with 
Pharisees  and  scribes,  and  allowed  a  few  infuriated 
Hebrews  to  put  him  to  death  that  he  might  atone 
for  the  sins  of  men  and  redeem  a  few  believers  from 
the  consequences  of  his  own  wrath,  can  find  no 
lodgment  in  a  good  and  natural  brain. 

In  no  mythology  can  anything  more  monstrously 
unbelievable  be  found. 

But  if  Christ  were  a  man  and  attacked  the  relig 
ion  of  his  times  because  it  was  cruel  and  absurd  ;  if 
he  endeavored  to  found  a  religion  of  kindness,  of 
good  deeds,  to  take  the  place  of  heartlessness  and 
ceremony,  and  if,  rather  than  to  deny  what  he  be- 

is  SUICIDE  A  SIN  ?  397 

lieved  to  be  right  and  true,  he  suffered  death, 
then  he  was  a  noble  man — a  benefactor  of  his  race. 
But  if  he  were  God  there  was  no  need  of  this. 
The  Jews  did  not  wish  to  kill  God.  If  he  had  only 
made  himself  known  all  knees  would  have  touched 
the  ground.  If  he  were  God  it  required  no  heroism 
to  die.  He  knew  that  what  we  call  death  is  but  the 
opening  of  the  gates  of  eternal  life.  If  he  were 
God  there  was  no  self-sacrifice.  He  had  no  need 
to  suffer  pain.  He  could  have  changed  the  cruci 
fixion  to  a  joy. 

Even  the  editors  of  religious  weeklies  see  that 
there  is  no  escape  from  these  conclusions — from 
these  arguments — and  so,  instead  of  attacking  the 
arguments,  they  attack  the  man  who  makes  them. 

Fifth. — I  denounced  the  law  of  New  York  that 
makes  an  attempt  to  commit  suicide  a  crime. 

It  seems  to  me  that  one  who  has  suffered  so 
much  that  he  passionately  longs  for  death  should 
be  pitied,  instead  of  punished — helped  rather  than 

A  despairing  woman  who  had  vainly  sought  for 
leave  to  toil,  a  woman  without  home,  without 
friends,  without  bread,  with  clasped  hands,  with 
tear-filled  eyes,  with  broken  words  of  prayer,  in 
the  darkness  of  night  leaps  from  the  dock,  hoping, 

398  is  SUICIDE  A  SIN? 

longing  for  the  tearless  sleep  of  death.  She  is 
rescued  by  a  kind,  courageous  man,  handed  over 
to  the  authorities,  indicted,  tried,  convicted,  clothed 
in  a  convict's  garb  and  locked  in  a  felon's  cell. 

To  me  this  law  seems  barbarous  and  absurd,  a 
law  that  only  savages  would  enforce. 

Sixth. — In  this  discussion  a  curious  thing  has 
happened.  For  several  centuries  the  clergy  have 
declared  that  while  infidelity  is  a  very  good  thing 
to  live  by,  it  is  a  bad  support,  a  wretched  consola 
tion,  in  the  hour  of  death.  They  have  in  spite  of 
the  truth,  declared  that  all  the  great  unbelievers  died 
trembling  with  fear,  asking  God  for  mercy,  sur 
rounded  by  fiends,  in  the  torments  of  despair. 
Think  of  the  thousands  and  thousands  of  clergy 
men  who  have  described  the  last  agonies  of  Vol 
taire,  who  died  as  peacefully  as  a  happy  child 
smilingly  passes  from  play  to  slumber ;  the  final 
anguish  of  Hume,  who  fell  into  his  last  sleep  as 
serenely  as  a  river,  running  between  green  and 
shaded  banks,  reaches  the  sea ;  the  despair  of 
Thomas  Paine,  one  of  the  bravest,  one  of  the  noblest 
men,  who  met  the  night  of  death  untroubled  as  a 
star  that  meets  the  morning. 

At  the  same  time  these  ministers  admitted  that 
the  average  murderer  could  meet  death  on  the 

is  SUICIDE  A  SIN?  399 

scaffold  with  perfect  serenity,  and  could  smilingly 
ask  the  people  who  had  gathered  to  see  him  killed 
to  meet  him  in  heaven. 

But  the  honest  man  who  had  expressed  his  hon 
est  thoughts  against  the  creed  of  the  church  in 
power  could  not  die  in  peace.  God  would  see  to 
it  that  his  last  moments  should  be  filled  with  the 
insanity  of  fear — that  with  his  last  breath  he  should 
utter  the  shriek  of  remorse,  the  cry  for  pardon. 

This  has  all  changed,  and  now  the  clergy,  in 
their  sermons  answering  me,  declare  that  the  athe 
ists,  the  freethinkers,  have  no  fear  of  death — that  to 
avoid  some  little  annoyance,  a  passing  inconven 
ience,  they  gladly  and  cheerfully  put  out  the  light 
of  life.  It  is  now  said  that  infidels  believe  that 
death  is  the  end — that  it  is  a  dreamless  sleep — 
that  it  is  without  pain — that  therefore  they  have 
no  fear,  care  nothing  for  gods,  or  heavens  or  hells, 
nothing  for  the  threats  of  the  pulpit,  nothing  for 
the  day  of  judgment,  and  that  when  life  becomes 
a  burden  they  carelessly  throw  it  down. 

The  infidels  are  so  afraid  of  death  that  they  com 
mit  suicide. 

This  certainly  is  a  great  change,  and  I  congrat 
ulate  myself  on  having  forced  the  clergy  to  contra 
dict  themselves. 

4OO  IS    SUICIDE    A    SIN  ? 

Seventh. — The  clergy  take  the  position  that  the 
atheist,  the  unbeliever,  has  no  standard  of  morality 
— that  he  can  have  no  real  conception  of  right  and 
wrong.  They  are  of  the  opinion  that  it  is  impos 
sible  for  one  to  be  moral  or  good  unless  he  believes 
in  some  Being  far  above  himself. 

In  this  connection  we  might  ask  how  God  can 
be  moral  or  good  unless  he  believes  in  some  Being 
superior  to  himself? 

What  is  morality  ?  It  is  the  best  thing  to  do 
under  the  circumstances.  What  is  the  best  thing 
to  do  under  the  circumstances  ?  That  which  will 
increase  the  sum  of  human  happiness — or  lessen 
it  the  least.  Happiness  in  its  highest,  noblest 
form,  is  the  only  good  ;  that  which  increases  or 
preserves  or  creates  happiness  is  moral — that  which 
decreases  it,  or  puts  it  in  peril,  is  immoral. 

It  is  not  hard  for  an  atheist — for  an  unbeliever — 
to  keep  his  hands  out  of  the  fire.  He  knows  that 
burning  his  hands  will  not  increase  his  well-being, 
and  he  is  moral  enough  to  keep  them  out  of  the 

So  it  may  be  said  that  each  man  acts  according 
to  his  intelligence — so  far  as  what  he  considers  his 
own  good  is  concerned.  Sometimes  he  is  swayed 
by  passion,  by  prejudice,  by  ignorance — but  when 

IS    SUICIDE    A    SIN?  4OI 

he  is  really  intelligent,  master  of  himself,  he  does 
what  he  believes  is  best  for  him.  If  he  is  intelligent 
enough  he  knows  that  what  is  really  good  for  him  is 
o-ood  for  others — for  all  the  world. 


It  is  impossible  for  me  to  see  why  any  belief  in 
the  supernatural  is  necessary  to  have  a  keen  per 
ception  of  right  and  wrong.  Every  man  who  has 
the  capacity  to  suffer  and  enjoy,  and  has  imagina 
tion  enough  to  give  the  same  capacity  to  others, 
has  within  himself  the  natural  basis  of  all  morality. 
The  idea  of  morality  was  born  here,  in  this  world, 
of  the  experience,  the  intelligence  of  mankind. 
Morality  is  not  of  supernatural  origin.  It  did  not 
fall  from  the  clouds,  and  it  needs  no  belief  in  the 
supernatural,  no  supernatural  promises  or  threats, 
no  supernatural  heavens  or  hells  to  give  it  force  and 
life.  Subjects  who  are  governed  by  the  threats  and 
promises  of  a  king  are  merely  slaves.  They  are  not 
governed  by  the  ideal,  by  noble  views  of  right  and 
wrong.  They  are  obedient  cowards,  controlled  by 
fear,  or  beggars  governed  by  rewards — by  alms. 

Right  and  wrong  exist  in  the  nature  of  things. 
Murder  was  just  as  criminal  before  as  after  the 
promulgation  of  the  Ten  Commandments. 

Eighth. — Many  of  the  clergy,  some  editors  and 
some  writers  of  letters  who  have  answered  me,  have 

40O  IS    SUICIDE   A    SIN  ? 

Seventh. — The  clergy  take  the  position  that  the 
atheist,  the  unbeliever,  has  no  standard  of  morality 
— that  he  can  have  no  real  conception  of  right  and 
wrong.  They  are  of  the  opinion  that  it  is  impos 
sible  for  one  to  be  moral  or  good  unless  he  believes 
in  some  Being  far  above  himself. 

In  this  connection  we  might  ask  how  God  can 
be  moral  or  good  unless  he  believes  in  some  Being 
superior  to  himself? 

What  is  morality  ?  It  is  the  best  thing  to  do 
under  the  circumstances.  What  is  the  best  thing 
to  do  under  the  circumstances  ?  That  which  will 
increase  the  sum  of  human  happiness — or  lessen 
it  the  least.  Happiness  in  its  highest,  noblest 
form,  is  the  only  good  ;  that  which  increases  or 
preserves  or  creates  happiness  is  moral — that  which 
decreases  it,  or  puts  it  in  peril,  is  immoral. 

It  is  not  hard  for  an  atheist — for  an  unbeliever — 
to  keep  his  hands  out  of  the  fire.  He  knows  that 
burning  his  hands  will  not  increase  his  well-being, 
and  he  is  moral  enough  to  keep  them  out  of  the 

So  it  may  be  said  that  each  man  acts  according 
to  his  intelligence — so  far  as  what  he  Considers  his 
own  good  is  concerned.  Sometimes  he  is  swayed 
by  passion,  by  prejudice,  by  ignorance — but  when 

IS   SUICIDE    A    SIN?  4OI 

he  is  really  intelligent,  master  of  himself,  he  does 
what  he  believes  is  best  for  him.  If  he  is  intelligent 
enough  he  knows  that  what  is  really  good  for  him  is 
Sfood  for  others — for  all  the  world. 


It  is  impossible  for  me  to  see  why  any  belief  in 
the  supernatural  is  necessary  to  have  a  keen  per 
ception  of  right  and  wrong.  Every  man  who  has 
the  capacity  to  suffer  and  enjoy,  and  has  imagina 
tion  enough  to  give  the  same  capacity  to  others, 
has  within  himself  the  natural  basis  of  all  morality. 
The  idea  of  morality  was  born  here,  in  this  world, 
of  the  experience,  the  intelligence  of  mankind. 
Morality  is  not  of  supernatural  origin.  It  did  not 
fall  from  the  clouds,  and  it  needs  no  belief  in  the 
supernatural,  no  supernatural  promises  or  threats, 
no  supernatural  heavens  or  hells  to  give  it  force  and 
life.  Subjects  who  are  governed  by  the  threats  and 
promises  of  a  king  are  merely  slaves.  They  are  not 
governed  by  the  ideal,  by  noble  views  of  right  and 
wrong.  They  are  obedient  cowards,  controlled  by 
fear,  or  beggars  governed  by  rewards — by  alms. 

Right  and  wrong  exist  in  the  nature  of  things. 
Murder  was  just  as  criminal  before  as  after  the 
promulgation  of  the  Ten  Commandments. 

Eighth. — Many  of  the  clergy,  some  editors  and 
some  writers  of  letters  who  have  answered  me,  have 

4O2  IS   SUICIDE   A    SIN  ? 

said  that  suicide  is  the  worst  of  crimes — that  a  man 
had  better  murder  somebody  else  than  himself.  One 
clergyman  gives  as  a  reason  for  this  statement  that  the 
suicide  dies  in  an  act  of  sin,  and  therefore  he  had 
better  kill  another  person.  Probably  he  would  com 
mit  a  less  crime  if  he  would  murder  his  wife  or 

I  do  not  see  that  it  is  any  worse  to  die  than  to  live 
in  sin.  To  say  that  it  is  not  as  wicked  to  murder 
another  as  yourself  seems  absurd.  The  man  about 
to  kill  himself  wishes  to  die.  Why  is  it  better  for 
him  to  kill  another  man,  who  wishes  to  live  ? 

To  my  mind  it  seems  clear  that  you  had  better 
injure  yourself  than  another.  Better  be  a  spend 
thrift  than  a  thief.  Better  throw  away  your  own 
money  than  steal  the  money  of  another — better  kill 
yourself  if  you  wish  to  die  than  murder  one  whose 
life  is  full  of  joy. 

The  clergy  tell  us  that  God  is  everywhere,  and 
that  it  is  one  of  the  greatest  possible  crimes  to  rush 
into  his  presence.  It  is  wonderful  how  much  they 
know  about  God  and  how  little  about  their  fellow- 
men.  Wonderful  the  amount  of  their  information 
about  other  worlds  and  how  limited  their  knowledge 
is  of  this. 

There  may  or  may  not  be  an  infinite  Being.     I 

IS    SUICIDE   A   SIN  ?  403 

neither  affirm  nor  deny.  I  am  honest  enough  to 
say  that  I  do  not  know.  I  am  candid  enough  to 
admit  that  the  question  is  beyond  the  limitations  of 
my  mind.  Yet  I  think  I  know  as  much  on  that 
subject  as  any  human  being  knows  or  ever  knew, 
and  that  is — nothing.  I  do  not  say  that  there  is 
not  another  world,  another  life ;  neither  do  I  say 
that  there  is.  I  say  that  I  do  not  know.  It  seems 
to  me  that  every  sane  and  honest  man  must  say  the 
same.  But  if  there  is  an  infinitely  good  God  and 
another  world,  then  the  infinitely  good  God  will  be 
just  as  good  to  us  in  that  world  as  he  is  in  this.  If 
this  infinitely  good  God  loves  his  children  in  this 
world,  he  will  love  them  in  another.  If  he  loves  a 
man  when  he  is  alive,  he  will  not  hate  him  the  in 
stant  he  is  dead. 

If  we  are  the  children  of  an  infinitely  wise  and 
powerful  God,  he  knew  exactly  what  we  would  do 
— the  temptations  that  we  could  and  could  not 
withstand — knew  exactly  the  effect  that  every 
thing  would  have  upon  us,  knew  under  what  cir 
cumstances  we  would  take  our  lives — and  produced 
such  circumstances  himself.  It  is  perfectly  ap 
parent  that  there  are  many  people  incapable  by 
nature  of  bearing  the  burdens  of  life,  incapable 
of  preserving  their  mental  poise  in  stress  and 

404  IS   SUICIDE    A    SIN  ? 

strain  of  disaster,  disease  and  loss,  and  who  by 
failure,  by  misfortune  and  want,  are  driven  to  de 
spair  and  insanity,  in  whose  darkened  minds  there 
comes  like  a  flash  of  lightning  in  the  night,  the 
thought  of  death,  a  thought  so  strong,  so  vivid, 
that  all  fear  is  lost,  all  ties  broken,  all  duties,  all 
obligations,  all  hopes  forgotten,  and  naught  remains 
except  a  fierce  and  wild  desire  to  die.  Thousands 
and  thousands  become  moody,  melancholy,  brood 
upon  loss  of  money,  of  position,  of  friends,  until 
reason  abdicates  and  frenzy  takes  possession  of  the 
soul.  If  there  be  an  infinitely  wise  and  powerful 
God,  all  this  was  known  to  him  from  the  beginning, 
and  he  so  created  things,  established  relations,  put 
in  operation  causes  and  effects,  that  all  that  has 
happened  was  the  necessary  result  of  his  own  acts. 

Ninth. — Nearly  all  who  have  tried  to  answer  what 
I  said  have  been  exceedingly  careful  to  misquote 
me,  and  then  answer  something  that  I  never  uttered. 
They  have  declared  that  I  have  advised  people  who 
were  in  trouble,  somewhat  annoyed,  to  kill  them 
selves  ;  that  I  have  told  men  who  have  lost  their 
money,  who  had  failed  in  business,  who  were  not 
good  in  health,  to  kill  themselves  at  once,  without 
taking  into  consideration  any  duty  that  they  owed 
to  wives,  children,  friends,  or  society. 

IS    SUICIDE    A   SIN  ?  4O5 

No  man  has  a  right  to  leave  his  wife  to  fight  the 
battle  alone  if  he  is  able  to  help.  No  man  has  a 
right  to  desert  his  children  if  he  can  possibly  be  of 
use.  As  long  as  he  can  add  to  the  comfort  of  those 
he  loves,  as  long  as  he  can  stand  between  wife  and 
misery,  between  child  and  want,  as  long  as  he  can 
be  of  any  use,  it  is  his  duty  to  remain. 

I  believe  in  the  cheerful  view,  in  looking  at  the 
sunny  side  of  things,  in  bearing  with  fortitude  the 
evils  of  life,  in  struggling  against  adversity,  in  find 
ing  the  fuel  of  laughter  even  in  disaster,  in  having 
confidence  in  to-morrow,  in  finding  the  pearl  of  joy 
among  the  flints  and  shards,  and  in  changing  by  the 
alchemy  of  patience  even  evil  things  to  good.  I 
believe  in  the  gospel  of  cheerfulness,  of  courage  and 
good  nature. 

Of  the  future  I  have  no  fear.  My  fate  is  the  fate 
of  the  world — of  all  that  live.  My  anxieties  are 
about  this  life,  this  world.  About  the  phantoms 
called  gods  and  their  impossible  hells,  I  have  no 
care,  no  fear. 

The  existence  of  God  I  neither  affirm  nor  deny, 
I  wait.  The  immortality  of  the  soul  I  neither  affirm 
nor  deny.  I  hope — hope  for  all  of  the  children  of 
men.  I  have  never  denied  the  existence  of  another 
world,  nor  the  immortality  of  the  soul.  For  many 

406  IS    SUICIDE   A    SIN  ? 

years  I  have  said  that  the  idea  of  immortality,  that 
like  a  sea  has  ebbed  and  flowed  in  the  human  heart, 
with  its  countless  waves  of  hope  and  fear  beating 
against  the  shores  and  rocks  of  time  and  fate,  was 
not  born  of  any  book,  nor  of  any  creed,  nor  of  any 
religion.  It  was  born  of  human  affection,  and  it  will 
continue  to  ebb  and  flow  beneath  the  mists  and 
clouds  of  doubt  and  darkness  as  long  as  love  kisses 
the  lips  of  death. 

What  I  deny  is  the  immortality  of  pain,  the 
eternity  of  torture. 

After  all,  the  instinct  of  self-preservation  is  strong. 
People  do  not  kill  themselves  on  the  advice  of 
friends  or  enemies.  All  wish  to  be  happy,  to  enjoy 
life  ;  all  wish  for  food  and  roof  and  raiment,  for 
friends,  and  as  long  as  life  gives  joy,  the  idea  of 
self-destruction  never  enters  the  human  mind. 

The  oppressors,  the  tyrants,  those  who  trample 
on  the  rights  of  others,  the  robbers  of  the  poor, 
those  who  put  wages  below  the  living  point,  the 
ministers  who  make  people  insane  by  preaching 
the  dogma  of  eternal  pain  ;  these  are  the  men  who 
drive  the  weak,  the  suffering  and  the  helpless  down 
to  death. 

It  will  not  do  to  say  that  God  has  appointed 
a  time  for  each  to  die.  Of  this  there  is,  and  there 

IS   SUICIDE   A    SIN  ?  4O7 

can  be,  no  evidence.  There  is  no  evidence  that 
any  god  takes  any  interest  in  the  affairs  of  men 
— that  any  sides  with  the  right  or  helps  the  weak, 
protects  the  innocent  or  rescues  the  oppressed. 
Even  the  clergy  admit  that  their  God,  through  all 
ages,  has  allowed  his  friends,  his  worshipers,  to 
be  imprisoned,  tortured  and  murdered  by  his  ene 
mies.  Such  is  the  protection  of  God.  Billions  of 
prayers  have  been  uttered  ;  has  one  been  answered  ? 
Who  sends  plague,  pestilence  and  famine  ?  Who 
bids  the  earthquake  devour  and  the  volcano  to  over 
whelm  ? 

Tenth. — Again,  I  say  that  it  is  wonderful  to  me 
that  so  many  men,  so  many  women  endure  and 
carry  their  burdens  to  'the  natural  end  ;  that  so 
many,  in  spite  of  "age,  ache  and  penury,"  guard 
with  trembling  hands  the  spark  of  life  ;  that  pris 
oners  for  life  toil  and  suffer  to  the  last ;  that  the 
helpless  wretches  in  poorhouses  and  asylums  cling 
to  life  ;  that  the  exiles  in  Siberia,  loaded  with  chains, 
scarred  with  the  knout,  live  on  ;  that  the  incurables, 
whose  every  breath  is  a  pang,  and  for  whom  the 
future  has  only  pain,  should  fear  the  merciful  touch 
and  clasp  of  death. 

It  is  but  a  few  steps  at  most  from  the  cradle  to 
the  grave;  a  short  journey.  The  suicide  hastens, 

408  IS    SUICIDE   A    SIN  ? 

shortens  the  path,  loses  the  afternoon,  the  twilight, 
the  dusk  of  life's  day  ;  loses  what  he  does  not  want, 
what  he  cannot  bear.  In  the  tempest  of  despair,  in 
the  blind  fury  of  madness,  or  in  the  calm  of  thought 
and  choice,  the  beleaguered  soul  finds  the  serenity  of 

Let  us  leave  the  dead  where  nature  leaves  them. 
We  know  nothing  of  any  realm  that  lies  beyond  the 
horizon  of  the  known,  beyond  the  end  of  life.  Let 
us  be  honest  with  ourselves  and  others.  Let  us 
pity  the  suffering,  the  despairing,  the  men  and 
women  hunted  and  pursued  by  grief  and  shame,  by 
misery  and  want,  by  chance  and  fate  until  their  only 
friend  is  death. 



Question.  Do  you  think  that  what  you  have 
written  about  suicide  has  caused  people  to  take 
their  lives  ? 

Answer.  No,  I  do  not.  People  do  not  kill  them 
selves  because  of  the  ideas  of  others.  They  are  the 
victims  of  misfortune. 

Question.  What  do  you  consider  the  chief  cause 
of  suicide  ? 

Answer.  There  are  many  causes.  Some  indi 
viduals  are  crossed  in  love,  others  are  bankrupt  in 
estate  or  reputation,  still  others  are  diseased  in 
body  and  frequently  in  mind.  There  are  a  thou 
sand  and  one  causes  that  lead  up  to  the  final  act. 

Question.  Do  you  consider  that  nationality  plays 
a  part  in  these  tragedies  ? 

Answer.  No,  it  is  a  question  of  individuals. 
There  are  those  whose  sorrows  are  greater  than 
they  can  bear.  These  sufferers  seek  the  peace  of 

Question.     Do  you,  then,  advise  suicide  ? 

•New  York  Journal,  1895.    An  Interview.  (411) 


Answer.  No,  I  have  never  done  so,  but  I  have 
said,  and  still  say,  that  there  are  circumstances 
under  which  it  is  justifiable  for  a  person  to  take  his 

Question.  What  do  you  think  of  the  law  which 
prohibits  self-destruction  ? 

Answer.  That  it  is  absurd  and  ridiculous.  The 
other  day  a  man  was  tried  before  Judge  Goff  for 
having  tried  to  kill  himself.  I  think  he  pleaded 
guilty,  and  the  Judge,  after  speaking  of  the  terrible 
crime  of  the  poor  wretch,  sentenced  him  to  the 
penitentiary  for  two  years.  This  was  an  outrage  ; 
infamous  in  every  way,  and  a  disgrace  to  our  civil 

Question.  Do  you  believe  that  such  a  law  will 
prevent  the  frequency  of  suicides  ? 

Answer.  By  no  means.  After  this,  persons  in 
New  York  who  have  made  up  their  minds  to  com 
mit  suicide  will  see  to  it  that  they  succeed. 

Question.  Have  your  opinions  been  in  any  way 
modified  since  your  first  announcement  of  them  ? 

Answer.  No,  I  feel  now  as  I  have  felt  for  many 
years.  No  one  can  answer  my  articles  on  suicide, 
because  no  one  can  satisfactorily  refute  them. 
Every  man  of  sense  knows  that  a  person  being  de 
voured  by  a  cancer  has  the  right  to  take  morphine, 


and  pass  from  agony  to  dreamless  sleep.  So,  too, 
there  are  circumstances  under  which  a  man  has  the 
right  to  end  his  pain  of  mind. 

Question.  Have  you  seen  in  the  papers  that 
many  who  have  killed  themselves  have  had  on  their 
persons  some  article  of  yours  on  suicide  ? 

Answer.  Yes,  I  have  read  such  accounts,  but  I 
repeat  that  I  do  not  think  these  persons  were  led  to 
kill  themselves  by  reading  the  articles.  Many  peo 
ple  who  have  killed  themselves  were  found  to  have 
Bibles  or  tracts  in  their  pockets. 

Question.  How  do  you  account  for  the  presence 
of  the  latter  ? 

Answer.  The  reason  of  this  is  that  the  theolo 
gians  know  nothing.  The  pious  imagine  that  their 
God  has  placed  us  here  for  some  wise  and  inscru 
table  purpose,  and  that  he  will  call  for  us  when  he 
wants  us.  All  this  is  idiotic.  When  a  man  is  of 
no  use  to  himself  or  to  others,  when  his  days  and 
nights  are  filled  with  pain  and  sorrow,  why  should 
he  remain  to  endure  them  longer  ? 


COL.  ROBERT  G.  INGERSOLL  was  seen  at 
his  house  and  asked  if  he  had  read  the  Rev. 
Merle  St.  Croix  Wright's  sermon. 

Answer.  Yes.  I  have  read  the  sermon,  and  also 
an  interview  had  with  the  reverend  gentleman. 

Long  ago  I  gave  my  views  about  suicide,  and  I 
entertain  the  same  views  still.  Mr.  Wright's  ser 
mon  has  stirred  up  quite  a  commotion  among  the 
orthodox  ministers.  This  commotion  may  always  be 
expected  when  anything  sensible  comes  from  a  pul 
pit.  Mr.  Wright  has  mixed  a  little  common  sense 
with  his  theology,  and,  of  course  this  has  displeased 
the  truly  orthodox. 

Sense  is  the  bitterest  foe  that  theology  has.  No 
system  of  supernatural  religion  can  outlive  a  good 
dose  of  real  good  sense.  The  orthodox  ministers 
take  the  ground  that  an  infinite  Being  created  man, 
put  him  on  the  earth  and  determined  his  days. 
They  say  that  God  desires  every  person  to  live  until 
he,  God,  calls  for  his  soul.  They  insist  that  we  are 

*  ffan  York  Herald,  1887.    An  Interview,  (414) 


all  on  guard  and  must  remain  so  until  relieved  by  a 
higher  power — the  superior  officer. 

The  trouble  with  this  doctrine  is  that  it  proves  too 
much.  It  proves  that  God  kills  every  person  who 
dies  as  we  say,  "  according  to  nature."  It  proves 
that  we  ought  to  say,  "  according  to  God."  It  proves 
that  God  sends  the  earthquake,  the  cyclone,  the 
pestilence,  for  the  purpose  of  killing  people.  It 
proves  that  all  diseases  and  all  accidents  are  his  mes 
sengers,  and  that  all  who  do  not  kill  themselves,  die 
by  the  act,  and  in  accordance  with  the  will  of  God. 
It  also  shows  that  when  a  man  is  murdered,  it  is  in 
harmony  with,  and  a  part  of  the  divine  plan.  When 
God  created  the  man  who  was  murdered,  he  knew 
that  he  would  be  murdered,  and  when  he  made  the 
man  who  committed  the  murder,  he  knew  exactly 
what  he  would  do.  So  that  the  murder  was  the  act 
of  God. 

Can  it  be  said  that  God  intended  that  thousands 
should  die  of  famine  and  that  he,  to  accomplish  his 
purpose,  withheld  the  rain  ?  Can  we  say  that  he  in 
tended  that  thousands  of  innocent  men  should  die  in 
dungeons  and  on  scaffolds  ? 

Is  it  possible  that  a  man,  "  slowly  being  devoured 
by  a  cancer,"  whose  days  and  nights  are  filled  with 
torture,  who  is  useless  to  himself  and  a  burden  to 


others,  is  carrying  out  the  will  of  God  ?  Does  God 
enjoy  his  agony  ?  Is  God  thrilled  by  the  music  of 
his  moans — the  melody  of  his  shrieks  ? 

This  frightful  doctrine  makes  God  an  infinite  mon 
ster,  and  every  human  being  a  slave  ;  a  victim. 
This  doctrine  is  not  only  infamous  but  it  is  idiotic. 
It  makes  God  the  only  criminal  in  the  universe. 

Now,  if  we  are  governed  by  reason,  if  we  use  our 
senses  and  our  minds,  and  have  courage  enough  to 
be  honest ;  if  we  know  a  little  of  the  world's  history, 
then  we  know — if  we  know  anything — that  man  has 
taken  his  chances,  precisely  the  same  as  other  ani 
mals.  He  has  been  destroyed  by  heat  and  cold,  by 
flood  and  fire,  by  storm  and  famine,  by  countless 
diseases,  by  numberless  accidents.  By  his  intelli 
gence,  his  cunning,  his  strength,  his  foresight,  he  has 
managed  to  escape  utter  destruction.  He  has  de 
fended  himself.  He  has  received  no  supernatural 
aid.  Neither  has  he  been  attacked  by  any  super 
natural  power.  Nothing  has  ever  happened  in  na 
ture  as  the  result  of  a  purpose  to  benefit  or  injure 
the  human  race. 

Consequently  the  question  of  the  right  or  wrong  of 
suicide  is  not  in  any  way  affected  by  a  supposed  ob 
ligation  to  the  Infinite. 

All  theological  considerations  must  be  thrown  aside 


because  we  see  and  know  that  the  laws  of  life  are 
the  same  for  all  living  things — that  when  the  con 
ditions  are  favorable,  the  living  multiply  and  life 
lengthens,  and  when  the  conditions  are  unfavorable, 
the  living  decrease  and  life  shortens.  We  have  no 
evidence  of  any  interference  of  any  power  superior 
to  nature.  Taking  into  consideration  the  fact  that  all 
the  duties  and  obligations  of  man  must  be  to  his 
fellows,  to  sentient  beings,  here  in  this  world,  and 
that  he  owes  no  duty  and  is  under  no  obligation  to 
any  phantoms  of  the  air,  then  it  is  easy  to  determine 
whether  a  man  under  certain  circumstances  has  the 
right  to  end  his  life. 

If  he  can  be  of  no  use  to  others — if  he  is  of  no 
use  to  himself — if  he  is  a  burden  to  others — a  curse 
to  himself — why  should  he  remain  ?  By  ending  his 
life  he  ends  his  sufferings  and  adds  to  the  well-being 
of  others.  He  lessens  misery  and  increases  happi 
ness.  Under  such  circumstances  undoubtedly  a  man 
has  the  right  to  stop  the  pulse  of  pain  and  woo  the 
sleep  that  has  no  dream. 

I  do  not  think  that  the  discussion  of  this  question  is 
of  much  importance,  but  I  am  glad  that  a  clergyman 
has  taken  a  natural  and  a  sensible  position,  and  that 
he  has  reasoned  not  like  a  minister,  but  like  a  man. 

When  wisdom  comes  from  the   pulpit  I  am  de- 


lighted  and  surprised.  I  feel  then  that  there  is  a  little 
light  in  the  East,  possibly  the  dawn  of  a  better  day. 

I  congratulate  the  Rev.  Mr.  Wright,  and  thank  him 
for  his  brave  and  philosophic  words. 

There  is  still  another  thing.  Certainly  a  man  has 
the  right  to  avoid  death,  to  save  himself  from  acci 
dent  and  disease.  If  he  has  this  right,  then  the 
theologians  must  admit  that  God,  in  making  his  de 
crees,  took  into  consideration  the  result  of  such  ac 
tions.  Now,  if  God  knew  that  while  most  men 
would  avoid  death,  some  would  seek  it,  and  if  his 
decrees  were  so  made  that  they  would  harmonize 
with  the  acts  of  those  who  would  avoid  death,  can 
we  say  that  he  did  not,  in  making  his  decrees,  take 
into  consideration  the  acts  of  those  who  would  seek 
death  ?  Let  us  remember  that  all  actions,  good,  bad 
and  indifferent,  are  the  necessary  children  of  con 
ditions — that  there  is  no  chance  in  the  natural  world 
in  which  we  live. 

So,  we  must  keep  in  mind  that  all  real  opinions 
are  honest,  and  that  all  have  the  same  right  to  ex 
press  their  thoughts.  Let  us  be  charitable. 

When  some  suffering  wretch,  wild  with  pain, 
crazed  with  regret,  frenzied  with  fear,  with  desperate 
hand  unties  the  knot  of  life,  let  us  have  pity — Let 
us  be  generous. 


Question.  Is  a  suicide  necessarily  insane  ?  was 
the  first  question,  to  which  Colonel  Ingersoll 
replied  : 

Answer.  No.  At  the  same  time  I  believe  that  a 
great  majority  of  suicides  are  insane.  There  are 
circumstances  under  which  suicide  is  natural,  sensible 
and  right.  When  a  man  is  of  no  use  to  himself, 
when  he  can  be  of  no  use  to  others,  when  his  life  is 
filled  with  agony,  when  the  future  has  no  promise 
of  relief,  then  I  think  he  has  the  right  to  cast 
the  burden  of  life  away  and  seek  the  repose  of 

Question.     Is  a  suicide  necessarily  a  coward  ? 

Answer.  I  cannot  conceive  of  cowardice  in  con 
nection  with  suicide.  Of  nearly  all  things  death  is 
the  most  feared.  And  the  man  who  voluntarily 
enters  the  realm  of  death  cannot  properly  be  called 
a  coward.  Many  men  who  kill  themselves  forget 

•Neva  York  Press,  1897.    An  Interview.  (419) 


the  duties  they  owe  to  others — forget  their  wives 
and  children.  Such  men  are  heartless,  wicked, 
brutal  ;  but  they  are  not  cowards. 

Question.  When  is  the  suicide  of  the  sane  justi 
fiable  ? 

Answer.  To  escape  death  by  torture  ;  to  avoid 
being  devoured  by  a  cancer  ;  to  prevent  being 
a  burden  on  those  you  love  ;  when  you  can  be  of 
no  use  to  others  or  to  yourself ;  when  life  is  un 
bearable  ;  when  in  all  the  horizon  of  the  future 
there  is  no  star  of  hope. 

Question.  Do  you  believe  that  any  suicides  have 
been  caused  or  encouraged  by  your  declaration 
three  years  ago  that  suicide  sometimes  was  justifi 
able  ? 

Answer.  Many  preachers  talk  as  though  I  had 
inaugurated,  invented,  suicide,  as  though  no  one 
who  had  not  read  my  ideas  on  suicide  had  ever 
taken  his  own  life.  Talk  as  long  as  language  lasts, 
you  cannot  induce  a  man  to  kill  himself.  The  man 
who  takes  his  own  life  does  not  go  to  others  to  find 
reasons  or  excuses. 

Question.  On  the  whole  is  the  world  made  better 
or  worse  by  suicides  ? 

Answer.     Better  by  some  and  poorer  by  others. 

Question.     Why  is  it  that  Germany,  said  to  be 


the  most  educated  of  civilized  nations,  leads  the 
world  in  suicides  ? 

Answer.  I  do  not  know  that  Germany  is  the 
most  educated  ;  neither  do  I  know  that  suicide  is 
more  frequent  there  than  in  all  other  countries.  I 
know  that  the  struggle  for  life  is  severe  in  Germany, 
that  the  laws  are  unjust,  that  the  government  is  op 
pressive,  that  the  people  are  sentimental,  that  they 
brood  over  their  troubles  and  easily  become  hope 

Question.  If  suicide  is  sometimes  justifiable,  is 
not  killing  of  born  idiots  and  infants  hopelessly 
handicapped  at  birth  equally  so  ? 

Answer.  There  is  no  relation  between  the  ques 
tions — between  suicides  and  killing  idiots.  Suicide 
may,  under  certain  circumstances,  be  right  and  kill 
ing  idiots  may  be  wrong  ;  killing  idiots  may  be  right 
and  suicide  may  be  wrong.  When  we  look  about 
us,  when  we  read  interviews  with  preachers  about 
Jonah,  we  know  that  all  the  idiots  have  not  been 

Question.     Should  suicide  be  forbidden  by  law  ? 

Answer.  No.  A  law  that  provides  for  the  punish 
ment  of  those  who  attempt  to  commit  suicide  is 
idiotic.  Those  who  are  willing  to  meet  death  are 
not  afraid  of  law.  The  only  effect  of  such  a  law 


would  be  to  make  the  person  who  had  concluded  to 
kill  himself  a  little  more  careful  to  succeed. 

Question.  What  is  your  belief  about  virtue, 
morality  and  religion  ? 

Answer.  I  believe  that  all  actions  that  tend  to 
the  well-being  of  sentient  beings  are  virtuous  and 
moral.  I  believe  that  real  religion  consists  in  doing 
good.  I  do  not  believe  in  phantoms.  I  believe  in 
the  uniformity  of  nature ;  that  matter  will  forever 
attract  matter  in  proportion  to  mass  and  distance  ; 
that,  under  the  same  circumstances,  falling  bodies 
will  attain  the  same  speed,  increasing  in  exact  pro 
portion  to  distance  ;  that  light  will  always,  under  the 
same  circumstances,  be  reflected  at  the  same  angle  ; 
that  it  will  always  travel  with  the  same  velocity ; 
that  air  will  forever  be  lighter  than  water,  and  gold 
heavier  than  iron  ;  that  all  substances  will  be  true  to 
their  natures ;  that  a  certain  degree  of  heat  will 
always  expand  the  metals  and  change  water  into 
steam ;  that  a  certain  degree  of  cold  will  cause  the 
metals  to  shrink  and  change  water  into  ice  ;  that  all 
atoms  will  forever  be  in  motion  ;  that  like  causes 
will  forever  produce  like  effects,  that  force  will  be 
overcome  only  by  force  ;  that  no  atom  of  matter 
will  ever  be  created  or  destroyed ;  that  the  energy 
in  the  universe  will  forever  remain  the  same,  noth- 


ing  lost,  nothing  gained  ;  that  all  that  has  been  pos 
sible  has  happened,  and  that  all  that  will  be  possible 
will  happen ;  that  the  seeds  and  causes  of  all 
thoughts,  dreams,  fancies  and  actions,  of  all  virtues 
and  all  vices,  of  all  successes  and  all  failures,  are  in 
nature  ;  that  there  is  in  the  universe  no  power 
superior  to  nature  ;  that  man  is  under  no  obligation 
to  the  imaginary  gods  ;  that  all  his  obligations 
and  duties  are  to  be  discharged  and  done  in  this 
world  ;  that  right  and  wrong  do  not  depend  on  the 
will  of  an  infinite  Being,  but  on  the  consequences  of 
actions,  and  that  these  consequences  necessarily  flow 
from  the  nature  of  things.  I  believe  that  the  uni 
verse  is  natural. 



HP  HERE  are  many  people,  in  all  countries,  who 
1  seem  to  enjoy  individual  and  national  decay. 
They  love  to  prophesy  the  triumph  of  evil.  They 
mistake  the  afternoon  of  their  own  lives  for  the 
evening  of  the  world.  To  them  everything  has 
changed.  Men  are  no  longer  honest  or  brave,  and 
women  have  ceased  to  be  beautiful.  They  are  dys 
peptic,  and  it  gives  them  the  greatest  pleasure  to  say 
that  the  art  of  cooking  has  been  lost. 

For  many  generations  many  of  these  people  occu 
pied  the  pulpits.  They  lifted  the  hand  of  warning 
whenever  the  human  race  took  a  step  in  advance. 
As  wealth  increased,  they  declared  that  honesty  and 
goodness  and  self-denial  and  charity  were  vanishing 
from  the  earth.  They  doubted  the  morality  of  well- 
dressed  people — considered  it  impossible  that  the 
prosperous  should  be  pious.  Like  owls  sitting  on 
the  limbs  of  a  dead  tree,  they  hooted  the  obsequies 
of  spring,  believing  it  would  come  no  more. 

*A  reply  to  General  Rush  Hawkins'  article,    "Brutality  and  Avarice  Trium 
phant,  ' '  published  in  the  North  American  Review,  June,  1891.  (427) 


There  are  some  patriots  who  think  it  their  duty  to 
malign  and  slander  the  land  of  their  birth.  They 
feel  that  they  have  a  kind  of  Cassandra  mission,  and 
they  really  seem  to  enjoy  their  work.  They  hon 
estly  believe  that  every  kind  of  crime  is  on  the  in 
crease,  that  the  courts  are  all  corrupt,  that  the  legis 
lators  are  bribed,  that  the  witnesses  are  suborned, 
that  all  holders  of  office  are  dishonest ;  and  they  feel 
like  a  modern  Marius  sitting  amid  the  ruins  of  all  the 

It  is  useless  to  endeavor  to  persuade  these  people 
that  they  are  wrong.  They  do  not  want  arguments, 
because  they  will  not  heed  them.  They  need  medi 
cine.  Their  case  is  not  for  a  philosopher,  but  for  a 

General  Hawkins  is  probably  right  when  he  says 
that  some  fraudulent  shoes,  some  useless  muskets, 
and  some  worn-out  vessels  were  sold  to  the  Govern 
ment  during  the  war ;  but  we  must  remember  that 
there  were  millions  and  millions  of  as  good  shoes  as 
art  and  honesty  could  make,  millions  of  the  best 
muskets  ever  constructed,  and  hundreds  of  the  most 
magnificent  ships  ever  built,  sold  to  the  Government 
during  the  same  period.  We  must  not  mistake  an 
eddy  for  the  main  stream.  We  must  also  remember 
another  thing  :  there  were  millions  of  good,  brave, 


and  patriotic  men  to  wear  the  shoes,  to  use  the  mus 
kets,  and  to  man  the  ships. 

So  it  is  probably  true  that  Congress  was  extrava 
gant  in  land  subsidies  voted  to  railroads ;  but  that 
this  legislation  was  secured  by  bribery  is  preposter 
ous.  It  was  all  done  in  the  light  of  noon.  There  is 
not  the  slightest  evidence  tending  to  show  that  the 
general  policy  of  hastening  the  construction  of  rail 
ways  through  the  Territories  of  the  United  States 
was  corruptly  adopted — not  the  slightest.  At  the 
same  time,  it  may  be  that  some  members  of  Congress 
were  induced  by  personal  considerations  to  vote  for 
such  subsidies.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  policy  was 
wise,  and  through  the  granting  of  the  subsidies 
thousands  of  miles  of  railways  were  built,  and  these 
railways  have  given  to  civilization  vast  territories 
which  otherwise  would  have  remained  substantially 
useless  to  the  world.  Where  at  that  time  was  a 
wilderness,  now  are  some  of  the  most  thriving  cities  in 
the  United  States — agreat,an  industrious,  and  a  happy 
population.  The  results  have  justified  the  action  of 

It  is  also  true  that  some  railroads  have  been 
"wrecked"  in  the  United  States,  but  most  of  these 
wrecks  have  been  the  result  of  competition.  It  is 
the  same  with  corporations  as  with  individuals — the 


powerful  combine  against  the  weak.  In  the  world  of 
commerce  and  business  is  the  great  law  of  the  sur 
vival  of  the  strongest.  Railroads  are  not  eleemosy 
nary  institutions.  They  have  but  little  regard  for 
the  rights  of  one  another.  Some  fortunes  have  been 
made  by  the  criminal  "wrecking"  of  roads,  but  even 
in  the  business  of  corporations  honesty  is  the  best 
policy,  and  the  companies  that  have  acted  in  accord 
ance  with  the  highest  standard,  other  things  being 
equal,  have  reaped  the  richest  harvest. 

Many  railways  were  built  in  advance  of  a  demand  ; 
they  had  to  develop  the  country  through  which 
they  passed.  While  they  waited  for  immigration, 
interest  accumulated  ;  as  a  result  foreclosure  took 
place  ;  then  reorganization.  By  that  time  the  country 
had  been  populated  ;  towns  were  springing  up  along 
the  line  ;  increased  business  was  the  result.  On  the 
new  bonds  and  the  new  stock  the  company  paid  in 
terest  and  dividends.  Then  the  ones  who  first  in 
vested  and  lost  their  money  felt  that  they  had  been 

So  it  is  easy  to  say  that  certain  men  are  guilty 
of  crimes — easy  to  indict  the  entire  nation,  and  at 
the  same  time  impossible  to  substantiate  one  of  the 
charges.  Everyone  who  knows  the  history  of  the 
Star-Route  trials  knows  that  nothing  was  established 


against  the  defendants,  knows  that  every  effort  was 
made  by  the  Government  to  convict  them,  and  also 
knows  that  an  unprejudiced  jury  of  twelve  men, 
never  suspected  of  being  improperly  influenced,  after 
having  heard  the  entire  case,  pronounced  the  de 
fendants  not  guilty.  After  this,  of  course,  any  one 
can  say,  who  knows  nothing  of  the  evidence  and  who 
cares  nothing  for  the  facts,  that  the  defendants  were 
all  guilty. 

It  may  also  be  true  that  some  settlers  in  the  far 
West  have  taken  timber  from  the  public  lands,  and 
it  may  be  that  it  was  a  necessity.  Our  laws  and  reg 
ulations  were  such  that  where  a  settler  was  entitled 
to  take  up  a  certain  amount  of  land  he  had  to  take 
it  all  in  one  place  ;  he  could  not  take  a  certain  num 
ber  of  acres  on  the  plains  and  a  certain  number  of 
acres  in  the  timber.  The  consequence  was  that 
when  he  settled  upon  the  land — the  land  that  he 
could  cultivate — he  took  the  timber  that  he  needed 
from  the  Government  land,  and  this  has  been  called 
stealing.  So  I  suppose  it  may  be  said  that  the 
cattle  stole  the  Government's  grass  and  possibly 
drank  the  Government's  water. 

It  will  also  be  admitted  with  pleasure  that  stock 
has  been  "  watered  "  in  this  country.  And  what 
is  the  crime  or  practice  known  as  watering  stock  ? 


For  instance,  you  have  a  railroad  one  hundred  miles 
long,  worth,  we  will  say,  $3,000,000 — able  to  pay 
interest  on  that  sum  at  the  rate  of  six  per  cent. 
Now,  we  all  know  that  the  amount  of  stock  issued 
has  nothing  to  do  with  the  value  of  the  thing  rep 
resented  by  the  stock.  If  there  was  one  share  of 
stock  representing  this  railroad,  it  would  be  worth 
three  million  dollars,  whether  it  said  on  its  face  it 
was  one  dollar  or  one  hundred  dollars.  If  there 
were  three  million  shares  of  stock  issued  on  this 
property,  they  would  be  worth  one  dollar  apiece, 
and,  no  matter  whether  it  said  on  this  stock  that 
each  share  was  a  hundred  dollars  or  a  thousand 
dollars,  the  share  would  be  worth  one  dollar — no 
more,  no  less.  If  any  one  wishes  to  find  the  value 
of  stock,  he  should  find  the  value  of  the  thing 
represented  by  the  stock.  It  is  perfectly  clear  that, 
if  a  pie  is  worth  one  dollar,  and  you  cut  it  into  four 
pieces,  each  piece  is  worth  twenty-five  cents  ;  and 
if  you  cut  it  in  a  thousand  pieces,  you  do  not  in 
crease  the  value  of  the  pie. 

If,  then,  you  wish  to  find  the  value  of  a  share  of 
stock,  find  its  relation  to  the  thing  represented  by 
all  the  stock. 

It  can  also  be  safely  admitted  that  trusts  have  been 
formed.  The  reason  is  perfectly  clear.  Corpora- 


tions  are  like  individuals — they  combine.  Unfor 
tunate  corporations  become  socialistic,  anarchistic, 
and  cry  out  against  the  abuses  of  trusts.  It  is 
natural  for  corporations  to  defend  themselves — 
natural  for  them  to  stop  ruinous  competition  by  a 
profitable  pool  ;  and  when  strong  corporations  com 
bine,  little  corporations  suffer.  It  is  with  corpora 
tions  as  with  fishes — the  large  eat  the  little  ;  and  it 
may  be  that  this  will  prove  a  public  benefit  in  the 
end.  When  the  large  corporations  have  taken  pos 
session  of  the  little  ones,  it  may  be  that  the  Govern 
ment  will  take  possession  of  them — the  Government 
being  the  largest  corporation  of  them  all. 

It  is  to  be  regretted  that  all  houses  are  not  fire 
proof;  but  certainly  no  one  imagines  that  the  peo 
ple  of  this  country  build  houses  for  the  purpose  of 
having  them  burned,  or  that  they  erect  hotels  hav 
ing  in  view  the  broiling.of  guests.  Men  act  as  they 
must ;  that  is  to  say,  according  to  wants  and  neces 
sities.  In  a  new  country  the  buildings  are  cheaper 
than  in  an  old  one,  money  is  scarcer,  interest 
higher,  and  consequently  people  build  cheaply  and 
take  the  risks  of  fire.  They  do  not  do  this  on 
account  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  or 
the  action  of  political  parties,  or  the  general  idea 
that  man  is  entitled  to  be  free.  In  the  hotels  of 


Zurope   it  may  be  that  there  is  not  as  great  danger 
of  fire  as  of  famine. 

The  destruction  of  game  and  of  the  singing  birds 
is  to  be  greatly  regretted,  not  only  in  this  country, 
but  in  all  others.  The  people  of  America  have  been 
too  busy  felling  forests,  ploughing  fields,  and  build 
ing  houses,  to  cultivate,  to  the  highest  degree,  the 
aesthetic  side  of  their  natures.  Nature  has  been 
somewhat  ruthless  with  us.  The  storms  of  winter 
breasted  by  the  Western  pioneer,  the  whirlwinds  of 
summer,  have  tended,  it  may  be,  to  harden  some 
what  the  sensibilities  ;  in  consequence  of  which 
they  have  allowed  their  horses  and  cattle  to  bear 
the  rigors  of  the  same  climate. 

It  is  also  true  that  the  seal-fisheries  are  being 
destroyed,  in  the  interest  of  the  present,  by  those 
who  care  nothing  for  the  future.  All  these  things 
are  to  be  deprecated,  are  to  be  spoken  against ;  but 
we  must  not  hint,  provided  we  are  lovers  of  the 
Republic,  that  such  things  are  caused  by  free  in 

General  Hawkins  asserts  that  "  Christianity  has 
neither  preached  nor  practiced  humanity  towards 
animals,"  while  at  the  same  time  "  Sunday  school 
children  by  hundreds  of  thousands  are  taught  what 
a  terrible  thing  it  is  to  break  the  Sabbath  ;  "  that 


"  museum  trustees  tremble  with  pious  horror  at  the 
suggestion  of  opening  the  doors  leading  to  the  col 
lections  on  that  day,"  and  that  no  protests  have 
come  "  from  lawmakers  or  the  Christian  clergy." 

Few  people  will  suspect  me  of  going  out  of  my 
way  to  take  care  of  Christianity  or  of  the  clergy.  At 
the  same  time,  I  can  afford  to  state  the  truth. 
While  there  is  not  much  in  the  Bible  with  regard  to 
practicing  humanity  toward  animals,  there  is  at 
least  this  :  "  The  merciful  man  is  merciful  to  his 
beast."  Of  course,  I  am  not  alluding  now  to  the 
example  set  by  Jehovah  when  he  destroyed  the 
cattle  of  the  Egyptians  with  hailstones  and  diseases 
on  account  of  the  sins  of  their  owners. 

In  regard  to  the  treatment  of  animals  Christians 
have  been  much  like  other  people. 

So,  hundreds  of  lawmakers  have  not  only  pro 
tested  against  cruelty  to  animals,  but  enough  have 
protested  against  it  to  secure  the  enactment  of  laws 
making  cruelty  toward  animals  a  crime.  Henry 
Bergh,  who  did  as  much  good  as  any  man  who  has 
lived  in  the  nineteenth  century,  was  seconded  in  his 
efforts  by  many  of  the  Christian  clergy  not  only,  but 
by  hundreds  and  thousands  of  professing  Christians 
— probably  millions.  Let  us  be  honest. 

It  is  true  that  the  clergy  are  apt  to  lose  the  dis- 


tinction  between  offences  and  virtues,  to  regard  the 
little  as  the  important — that  is  to  say,  to  invert  the 

It  is  true  that  the  Indians  have  been  badly  treated. 
It  is  true  that  the  fringe  of  civilization  has  been 
composed  of  many  low  and  cruel  men.  It  is  true 
that  the  red  man  has  been  demoralized  by  the  vices 
of  the  white.  It  is  a  frightful  fact  that,  when  a 
superior  race  meets  an  inferior,  the  inferior  imitates 
only  the  vices  of  the  superior,  and  the  superior  those 
of  the  inferior.  They  exchange  faults  and  failings. 
This  is  one  of  the  most  terrible  facts  in  the  history 
of  the  human  race. 

Nothing  can  be  said  to  justify  our  treatment  of 
the  Indians.  There  is,  however,  this  shadow  of  an 
excuse  :  In  the  old  times,  when  we  lived  along  the 
Atlantic,  it  hardly  occurred  to  our  Ancestors  that 
they  could  ever  go  beyond  the  Ohio  ;  so  the  first 
treaty  with  the  Indians  drove  them  back  but  a  few 
miles.  In  a  little  while,  through  immigration,  the 
white  race  passed  the  line,  and  another  treaty  was 
made,  forcing  the  Indians  still  further  west ;  yet  the 
tide  of  immigration  kept  on,  and  in  a  little  while 
again  the  line  was  passed,  the  treaty  violated. 
Another  treaty  was  made,  pushing  the  Indians  still 
farther  toward  the  Pacific,  across  the  Illinois,  across 


the  Mississippi,  across  the  Missouri,  violating  at 
every  step  some  treaty  made  ;  and  each  treaty  born 
of  the  incapacity  of  the  white  men  who  made  it  to 
foretell  the  growth  of  the  Republic. 

But  the  author  of  "  Brutality  and  Avarice  Trium 
phant  "  made  a  great  mistake  when  he  selected  the 
last  thirty  years  of  our  national  life  as  the  period 
within  which  the  Americans  have  made  a  change  of 
the  national  motto  appropriate,  and  asserted  that 
now  there  should  be  in  place  of  the  old  motto  the 
words,  "  Plundering  Made  Easy." 

Most  men  believe  in  a  sensible  and  manly  patri 
otism.  No  one  should  be  blind  to  the  defects  in  the 
laws  and  institutions  of  his  country.  He  should  call 
attention  to  abuses,  not  for  the  purpose  of  bringing 
his  country  into  disrepute,  but  that  the  abuses  may 
cease  and  the  defects  be  corrected.  He  should  do 
what  he  can  to  make  his  country  great,  prosperous, 
just,  and  free.  But  it  is  hardly  fair  to  exaggerate 
the  faults  of  your  country  for  the  purpose  of  calling 
attention  to  your  own  virtues,  or  to  earn  the  praise 
of  a  nation  that  hates  your  own.  This  is  what  might 
be  called  wallowing  in  the  gutter  of  reform. 

The  thirty  years  chosen  as  the  time  in  which  we 
as  a  nation  have  passed  from  virtue  to  the  lowest 
depths  of  brutality  and  avarice  are,  in  fact,  the  most 


glorious  years  in  the  life  of  this  or  of  any  other 

In  1861  slavery  was,  in  a  legal  sense  at  least,  a 
national  institution.  It  was  firmly  imbedded  in  the 
Federal  Constitution.  The  Fugitive  Slave  Law  was 
in  full  force  and  effect.  In  all  the  Southern  and  in 
nearly  all  of  the  Northern  States  it  was  a  crime  to 
give  food,  shelter,  or  raiment  to  a  man  or  woman 
seeking  liberty  by  flight.  Humanity  was  illegal, 
hospitality  a  misdemeanor,  and  charity  a  crime. 
Men  and  women  were  sold  like  beasts.  Mothers 
were  robbed  of  their  babes  while  they  stood  under 
our  flag.  All  the  sacred  relations  of  life  were  tram 
pled  beneath  the  bloody  feet  of  brutality  and  avarice. 
Besides,  so  firmly  was  slavery  fixed  in  law  and  creed, 
in  statute  and  Scripture,  that  the  tongues  of  honest 
men  were  imprisoned.  Those  who  spoke  for  the 
slave  were  mobbed  by  Northern  lovers  of  the 
"  Union." 

Now,  it  seems  to  me  that  those  were  the  days 
when  the  motto  could  properly  have  been,  "  Plun 
dering  Made  Easy."  Those  were  the  days  of  bru 
tality,  and  the  brutality  was  practiced  to  the  end 
that  we  might  make  money  out  of  the  unpaid  labor 
of  others. 

It  is  not  necessary  to  go  into  details  as  to  the  cause 


of  the  then  condition  ;  it  is  enough  to  say  that  the 
whole  nation,  North  and  South,  was  responsible. 
There  were  many  years  of  compromise,  and  thousands 
of  statesmen,  so-called,  through  conventions  and 
platforms,  did  what  they  could  to  preserve  slavery 
and  keep  the  Union.  These  efforts  corrupted  politics, 
demoralized  our  statesmen,  polluted  our  courts,  and 
poisoned  our  literature.  The  Websters,  Bentons, 
and  Clays  mistook  temporary  expedients  for  prin 
ciples,  and  really  thought  that  the  progress  of  the 
world  could  be  stopped  by  the  resolutions  of  a  packed 
political  convention.  Yet  these  men,  mistaken  as 
they  really  were,  worked  and  wrought  unconsciously 
in  the  cause  of  human  freedom.  They  believed  that 
the  preservation  of  the  Union  was  the  one  important 
thing,  and  that  it  could  not  be  preserved  unless 
slavery  was  protected — unless  the  North  would  be 
faithful  to  the  bargain  as  written  in  the  Constitution. 
For  the  purpose  of  keeping  the  nation  true  to  the 
Union  and  false  to  itself,  these  men  exerted  every 
faculty  and  all  their  strength.  They  exhausted  their 
genius  in  showing  that  slavery  was  not,  after  all, 
very  bad,  and  that  disunion  was  the  most  terrible 
calamity  that  could  by  any  possibility  befall  the  na 
tion,  and  that  the  Union,  even  at  the  price  of  slavery, 
was  the  greatest  possible  blessing.  They  did  not 


suspect  that  slavery  would  finally  strike  the  blow  for 
disunion.  But  when  the  time  came  and  the  South 
unsheathed  the  sword,  the  teachings  of  these  men  as 
to  the  infinite  value  of  the  Union  gave  to  our  flag 
millions  of  brave  defenders. 

Now,  let  us  see  what  has  been  accomplished 
during  the  thirty  years  of  "  Brutality  and  Ava 

The  Republic  has  been  rebuilt  and  reunited,  and 
we  shall  remain  one  people  for  many  centuries  to 
come.  The  Mississippi  is  nature's  protest  against 
disunion.  The  Constitution  of  the  United  States  is 
now  the  charter  of  human  freedom,  and  all  laws  in 
consistent  with  the  idea  that  all  men  are  entitled  to 
liberty  have  been  repealed.  The  black  man  knows 
that  the  Constitution  is  his  shield,  that  the  laws  pro 
tect  him,  that  our  flag  is  his,  and  the  black  mother 
feels  that  her  babe  belongs  to  her.  Where  the 
slave-pen  used  to  be  you  will  find  the  schoolhouse. 
The  dealer  in  human  flesh  is  now  a  teacher  ;  instead 
of  lacerating  the  back  of  a  child,  he  develops  and 
illumines  the  mind  of  a  pupil. 

There  is  now  freedom  of  speech.  Men  are  allowed 
to  utter  their  thoughts.  Lips  are  no  longer  sealed 
by  mobs.  Never  before  in  the  history  of  our  world 
has  so  much  been  done  for  education. 


The  amount  of  business  done  in  a  country  on  credit 
is  the  measure  of  confidence,  and  confidence  is  based 
upon  honesty.  So  it  may  truthfully  be  said  that, 
where  a  vast  deal  of  business  is  done  on  credit,  an 
exceedingly  large  per  cent,  of  the  people  are  re 
garded  as  honest.  In  our  country  a  very  large  per 
cent,  of  contracts  are  faithfully  fulfilled.  Probably 
there  is  no  nation  in  the  world  where  so  much 
business  is  done  on  credit  as  in  the  United  States. 
The  fact  that  the  credit  of  the  Republic  is  second 
to  that  of  no  other  nation  on  the  globe  would  seem 
to  be  at  least  an  indication  of  a  somewhat  general 
diffusion  of  honesty. 

The  author  of"  Brutality  and  Avarice  Triumphant" 
seems  to  be  of  the  opinion  that  our  country  was  de 
moralized  by  the  war.  They  who  fight  for  the  right 
are  not  degraded — they  are  ennobled.  When  men 
face  death  and  march  to  the  mouths  of  the  guns  for 
a  principle,  they  grow  great ;  and  if  they  come  out  of 
the  conflict,  they  come  with  added  moral  grandeur  ; 
they  become  better  men,  better  citizens,  and  they 
love  more  intensely  than  ever  the  great  cause 
for  the  success  of  which  they  put  their  lives  in 

The  period  of  the  Revolution  produced  great  men. 
After  the  great  victory  the  sons  of  the  heroes  degen- 


crated,  and  some  of  the  greatest  principles  involved 
in  the  Revolution  were  almost  forgotten. 

During  the  Civil  war  the  North  grew  great  and 
the  South  was  educated.  Never  before  in  the  history 
of  mankind  was  there  such  a  period  of  moral  exalta 
tion.  The  names  that  shed  the  brightest,  the  whitest 
light  on  the  pages  of  our  history  became  famous 
then.  Against  the  few  who  were  actuated  by  base 
and  unworthy  motives  let  us  set  the  great  army  that 
fought  for  the  Republic,  the  millions  who  bared  their 
breasts  to  the  storm,  the  hundreds  and  hundreds  of 
thousands  who  did  their  duty  honestly,  nobly,  and 
went  back  to  their  wives  and  children  with  no  thought 
except  to  preserve  the  liberties  of  themselves  and 
their  fellow-men. 

Of  course  there  were  some  men  who  did  not  do 
their  duty — some  men  false  to  themselves  and  to 
their  country.  No  one  expects  to  find  sixty-five 
millions  of  saints  in  America.  A  few  years  ago  a 
lady  complained  to  the  president  of  a  Western  rail 
road  that  a  brakeman  had  spoken  to  her  with  great 
rudeness.  The  president  expressed  his  regret  at 
the  incident,  and  said  among  other  things  : 
"  Madam,  you  have  no  idea  how  difficult  it  is  for  us 
to  get  gentlemen  to  fill  all  those  places." 

It  is  hardly  to  be  expected  that  the  American 


people  should  excel  all  others  in  the  arts,  in  poetry, 
and  in  fiction.  We  have  been  very  busy  taking 
possession  of  the  Republic.  It  is  hard  to  over 
estimate  the  courage,  the  industry,  the  self-denial  it 
has  required  to  fell  the  forests,  to  subdue  the  fields, 
to  construct  the  roads,  and  to  build  the  countless 
homes.  What  has  been  done  is  a  certificate  of  the 
honesty  and  industry  of  our  people. 

It  is  not  true  that  "  one  of  the  unwritten  mottoes 
of  our  business  morals  seem  to  say  in  the  plainest 
phraseology  possible  :  '  Successful  wrong  is  right.' ' 
Men  in  this  country  are  not  esteemed  simply  be 
cause  they  are  rich  ;  inquiries  are  made  as  to  how 
they  made  their  money,  as  to  how  they  use  it.  The 
American  people  do  not  fall  upon  their  knees  before 
the  golden  calf ;  the  worst  that  can  be  said  is 
that  they  think  too  much  of  the  gold  of  the  calf 
— and  this  distinction  is  seen  by  the  calves  them 

Nowhere  in  the  world  is  honesty  in  business 
esteemed  more  highly  than  here.  There  are 
millions  of  business  men — merchants,  bankers,  and 
men  engaged  in  all  trades  and  professions — to  whom 
reputation  is  as  dear  as  life. 

There  is  one  thing  in  the  article  "  Brutality  and 
Avarice  Triumphant "  that  seems  even  more  objec- 


tionable  than  the  rest,  and  that  is  the  statement,  or, 
rather,  the  insinuation,  that  all  the  crimes  and  the 
shortcomings  of  the  American  people  can  be  ac 
counted  for  by  the  fact  that  our  Government  is  a 
Republic.  We  are  told  that  not  long  ago  a  French 
official  complained  to  a  friend  that  he  was  compelled 
to  employ  twenty  clerks  to  do  the  work  done  by 
four  under  the  empire,  and  on  being  asked  the  rea 
son  answered  :  "  It  is  the  Republic."  He  was  told 
that,  as  he  was  the  head  of  the  bureau,  he  could 
prevent  the  abuse,  to  which  he  replied  :  "  I  know 
I  have  the  power  ;  but  I  have  been  in  this  position 
for  more  than  thirty  years,  and  am  now  too  old  to 
learn  another  occupation,  and  I  must  make  places 
for  the  friends  of  the  deputies. "  And  then  it 
is  added  by  General  Hawkins :  "  And  so  it  is 

It  seems  to  me  that  it  cannot  be  fairly  urged  that 
we  have  abused  the  Indians  because  we  contend 
that  all  men  have  equal  rights  before  the  law,  or  be 
cause  we  insist  that  governments  derive  their  just 
powers  from  the  consent  of  the  governed.  The 
probability  is  that  a  careful  reading  of  the  history  of 
the  world  will  show  that  nations  under  the  control 
of  kings  and  emperors  have  been  guilty  of  some 
pruelty.  To  account  for  the  bad  we  do  by  the  good 


we  believe,  is  hardly  logical.     Our  virtues  should 
not  be  made  responsible  for  our  vices. 

Is  it  possible  that  free  institutions  tend  to  the 
demoralization  of  men  ?  Is  a  man  dishonest  be 
cause  he  is  a  man  and  maintains  the  rights  of  men  ? 
In  order  to  be  a  moral  nation  must  we  be  controlled 
by  king  or  emperor  ?  Is  human  liberty  a  mistake  ? 
Is  it  possible  that  a  citizen  of  the  great  Republic  at 
tacks  the  liberty  of  his  fellow-citizens  ?  Is  he  will 
ing  to  abdicate  ?  Is  he  willing  to  admit  that  his 
rights  are  not  equal  to  the  rights  of  others  ?  Is 
he,  for  the  sake  of  what  he  calls  morality,  willing 
to  become  a  serf,  a  servant  or  a  slave  ? 

Is  it  possible  that  "  high  character  is  impracti 
cable  "  in  this  Republic  ?  Is  this  the  experience  of 
the  author  of  " Brutality  and  Avarice  Triumphant"? 
Is  it  true  that  "intellectual  achievement  pays  no 
dividends  "  ?  Is  it  not  a  fact  that  America  is  to-day 
the  best  market  in  the  world  for  books,  for  music, 
and  for  art  ? 

There  is  in  our  country  no  real  foundation  for 
these  wide  and  sweeping  slanders.  This,  in  my 
judgment,  is  the  best  Government,  the  best  country, 
in  the  world.  The  citizens  of  this  Republic  are,  on 
the  average,  better  clothed  and  fed  and  educated 
than  any  other  people.  They  are  fuller  of  life,  more 


progressive,  quicker  to  take  advantage  of  the  forces 
of  nature,  than  any  other  of  the  children  of  men. 
Here  the  burdens  of  government  are  lightest,  the 
responsibilities  of  the  individual  greatest,  and  here, 
in  my  judgment,  are  to  be  worked  out  the  most 
important  problems  of  social  science. 

Here  in  America  is  a  finer  sense  of  what  is  due  from 
man  to  man  than  you  will  find  in  other  lands.  We 
do  not  cringe  to  those  whom  chance  has  crowned  ; 
we  stand  erect. 

Our  sympathies  are  strong  and  quick.  Generosity 
is  almost  a  national  failing.  The  hand  of  honest 
want  is  rarely  left  unfilled.  Great  calamities  open  the 
hearts  and  hands  of  all. 

Here  you  will  find  democracy  in  the  family — re 
publicanism  by  the  fireside.  Say  what  you  will,  the 
family  is  apt  to  be  patterned  after  the  government. 
If  a  king  is  at  the  head  of  the  nation,  the  husband 
imagines  himself  the  monarch  of  the  home.  In  this 
country  we  have  carried  into  the  family  the  idea  on 
which  the  Government  is  based.  Here  husbands 
and  wives  are  beginning  to  be  equals. 

The  highest  test  of  civilization  is  the  treatment  of 
women  and  children.  By  this  standard  America 
stands  first  among  nations. 

There    is  a  magnitude,  a  scope,  a  grandeur,  about 


this  country — an  amplitude — that  satisfies  the  heart 
and  the  imagination.  We  have  our  faults,  we  have 
our  virtues,  but  our  country  is  the  best. 

No  American  should  ever  write  a  line  that  can 
be  sneeringly  quoted  by   an   enemy  of  the   great 





Question.  Colonel,  have  you  noticed  the  criticisms 
made  on  your  lectures  by  the  Cincinnati  Gazette  and 
the  Catholic  Telegraph  f 

Answer.  I  have   read  portions  of  the  articles. 

Question.  What  do  you  think  of  them  ? 

Answer.  Well,  they  are  hardly  of  importance 
enough  to  form  a  distinct  subject  of  thought. 

Question.  Well,  what  do  you  think  of  the  attempted 
argument  of  the  Gazette  against  your  lecture  on 
Moses  ? 

Answer.  The  writer  endeavors  to  show  that  con 
sidering  the  ignorance  prevalent  four  thousand  years 
ago,  God  did  as  well  as  one  could  reasonably  expect ; 
that  God  at  that  time  did  not  have  the  advantage  of 
telescope,  microscope,  and  spectrum,  and  that  for 
this  reason  a  few  mistakes  need  not  excite  our 
special  wonder.  He  also  shows  that,  although  God 
was  in  favor  of  slavery  he  introduced  some  reforms  ; 

*  The  Cincinnati  Gazette,  1878.    An  Interview.  (461) 


but  whether  the  reforms  were  intended  to  perpetuate 
slavery  or  to  help  the  slave  is  not  stated.  The  ar 
ticle  has  nothing  to  do  with  my  position.  I  am 
perfectly  willing  to  admit  that  there  is  a  land  called 
Egypt ;  that  the  Jews  were  once  slaves  ;  that  they 
got  away  and  started  a  little  country  of  their  own. 
All  this  may  be  true  without  proving  that  they  were 
miraculously  fed  in  the  wilderness,  or  that  water  ran 
up  hill,  or  that  God  went  into  partnership  with 
hornets  or  snakes.  There  may  have  been  a  man  by 
the  name  of  Moses  without  proving  that  sticks  were 
turned  into  snakes. 

A  while  ago  a  missionary  addressed  a  Sunday 
school.  In  the  course  of  his  remarks  he  said  that  he 
had  been  to  Mount  Ararat,  and  had  brought  a  stone 
from  the  mountain.  He  requested  the  children  to 
pass  in  line  before  him  so  that  they  could  all  get  a 
look  at  this  wonderful  stone.  After  they  had  all 
seen  it  he  said:  "You  will  as  you  grow  up  meet 
people  who  will  deny  that  there  ever  was  a  flood,  or 
that  God  saved  Noah  and  the  animals  in  the  ark,  and 
then  you  can  tell  them  that  you  know  better,  be 
cause  you  saw  a  stone  from  the  very  mountain  where 
the  ark  rested." 

That  is  precisely  the  kind  of  argument  used  in  the 
Gazette.  The  article  was  written  by  some  one  who 


does  not  quite  believe  in  the  inspiration  of  the 
Scriptures  himself,  and  were  it  not  for  the  fear  of  hell, 
would  probably  say  so. 

I  admit  that  there  was  such  a  man  as  Mohammed, 
such  a  city  as  Mecca,  such  a  general  as  Omar,  but  I 
do  not  admit  that  God  made  known  his  will  to  Mo 
hammed  in  any  substantial  manner.  Of  course  the 
Gazette  would  answer  all  this  by  saying  that  Mo 
hammed  did  exist,  and  that  therefore  God  must  have 
talked  with  him.  I  admit  that  there  was  such  a  gen 
eral  as  Washington,  but  I  do  not  admit  that  God 
kept  him  from  being  shot.  I  admit  that  there  is  a 
portrait  of  the  Virgin  Mary  in  Rome,  but  I  do  not 
admit  that  it  shed  tears.  I  admit  that  there  was  such 
a  man  as  Moses,  but  I  do  not  admit  that  God  hunted 
for  him  in  a  tavern  to  kill  him.  I  admit  that  there 
was  such  a  priest  as  St.  Denis,  but  I  do  not  admit 
that  he  carried  his  head  in  his  hand,  after  it  was  cut 
off,  and  swam  the  river,  and  put  his  head  on  again 
and  eventually  recovered.  I  admit  that  the  article 
appeared  in  the  Gazette,  but  I  do  not  admit  that  it 
amounted  to  anything  whatever. 

Question.  Did  you  notice  what  the  Catholic  Tele 
graph  said  about  your  lecture  being  ungrammatical  ? 

Answer.  Yes  ;  I  saw  an  extract  from  it.  In  the 
Catholic  Telegraph  occurs  the  following  :  "  The  lee- 


ture  was  a  failure  as  brilliant  as  Ingersoll's  flashes  of 
ungrammatical  rhetoric."  After  making  this  state 
ment  with  the  hereditary  arrogance  of  a  priest,  after 
finding  fault  with  my  "  ungrammatical  rhetoric  "  he 
then  writes  the  following  sentence  :  "  It  could  not 
boast  neither  of  novelty  in  argument  or  of  attractive 
language."  After  this,  nothing  should  be  noticed  that 
this  gentleman  says  on  the  subject  of  grammar. 

In  this  connection  it  may  be  proper  for  me  to  say 
that  nothing  is  more  remarkable  than  the  fact  that 
Christianity  destroys  manners.  With  one  exception, 
no  priest  has  ever  written  about  me,  so  far  as  I  know, 
except  in  an  arrogant  and  insolent  manner.  They 
seem  utterly  devoid  of  the  usual  amenities  of  life. 
Every  one  who  differs  with  them  is  vile,  ignorant  and 
malicious.  But,  after  all,  what  can  you  expect  of  a 
gentleman  who  worships  a  God  who  will  damn 
dimpled  babes  to  an  eternity  of  fire,  simply  because 
they  were  not  baptized. 

Question.  This  Catholic  writer  says  that  the  oldest 
page  of  history  and  the  newest  page  of  science  are 
nothing  more  than  commentaries  on  the  Mosaic  Rec 
ord.  He  says  the  Cosmogony  of  Moses  has  been 
believed  in,  and  has  been  received  as  the  highest  truth 
by  the  very  brightest  names  in  science.  What  do 
you  think  of  that  statement  ? 


Answer.  I  think  it  is  without  the  least  foundation 
in  fact,  and  is  substantially  like  the  gentleman's  the 
ology,  depending  simply  upon  persistent  assertion. 

I  see  he  quotes  Cuvier  as  great  authority.  Cuvier 
denied  that  the  fossil  animals  were  in  any  way  re 
lated  to  the  animals  now  living,  and  believed  that 
God  had  frequently  destroyed  all  life  upon  the  earth 
and  then  produced  other  forms.  Agassiz  was  the 
last  scientist  of  any  standing  who  ventured  to  throw 
a  crumb  of  comfort  to  this  idea. 

Question.  Do  you  mean  to  say  that  all  the  great 
living  scientists  regard  the  Cosmogony  of  Moses  as 
a  myth  ? 

Answer.  I  do.  I  say  this  :  All  men  of  science 
and  men  of  sense  look  upon  the  Mosaic  account  as 
a  simple  myth.  Humboldt,  who  stands  in  the  same 
relation  to  science  that  Shakespeare  did  to  the  drama, 
held  this  opinion.  The  same  is  held  by  the  best 
minds  in  Germany,  by  Huxley,  Tyndall  and  Herbert 
Spencer  in  England,  by  John  W.  Draper  and  others 
in  the  United  States.  Whoever  agrees  with  Moses 
is  some  poor  frightened  orthodox  gentleman  afraid 
of  losing  his  soul  or  his  salary,  and  as  a  rule,  both 
are  exceedingly  small. 

Question.  Some  people  say  that  you  slander  the 
Bible  in  saying  that  God  went  into  partnership  with 


hornets,  and  declare  that  there  is  no  such  passage  in 
the  Bible. 

Answer.  Well,  let  them  read  the  twenty-eighth 
verse  of  the  twenty-third  chapter  of  Exodus,  "And  I 
will  send  hornets  before  thee,  which  shall  drive  out 
the  Hivite,  the  Canaanite  and  the  Hittite  from  before 

Question.  Do  you  find  in  lecturing  through  the  coun 
try  that  your  ideas  are  generally  received  with  favor  ? 

Answer.  Astonishingly  so.  There  are  ten  times 
as  many  freethinkers  as  there  were  five  years  ago. 
In  five  years  more  we  will  be  in  the  majority. 

Question.  Is  it  true  that  the  churches,  as  a  general 
thing,  make  strong  efforts,  as  I  have  seen  it  stated, 
to  prevent  people  from  going  to  hear  you  ? 

Answer.  Yes  ;  in  many  places  ministers  have 
advised  their  congregations  to  keep  away,  telling 
them  I  was  an  exceedingly  dangerous  man.  The 
result  has  generally  been  a  full  house,  and  I  have 
hardly  ever  failed  to  publicly  return  my  thanks  to 
the  clergy  for  acting  as  my  advance  agents. 

Question.  Do  you  ever  meet  Christian  people 
who  try  to  convert  you  ? 

Answer.  Not  often.  But  I  do  receive  a  great 
many  anonymous  letters,  threatening  me  with  the 
wrath  of  God,  and  calling  my  attention  to  the  uncer- 


tainty  of  life  and  the  certainty  of  damnation.  These 
letters  are  nearly  all  written  in  the  ordinary  Christian 
spirit ;  that  is  to  say,  full  of  hatred  and  impertinence. 

Question.  Don't  you  think  it  remarkable  that  the 
Telegraph^  a  Catholic  paper,  should  quote  with  ex 
travagant  praise,  an  article  from  such  an  orthodox 
sheet  as  the  Gazette  f 

Answer.  I  do  not.  All  the  churches  must  make 
common  cause.  All  superstitions  lead  to  Rome  ; 
all  facts  lead  to  science.  In  a  few  years  all  the 
churches  will  be  united.  This  will  unite  all  forms  of 
liberalism.  When  that  is  done  the  days  of  super 
stition,  of  arrogance,  of  theology,  will  be  numbered. 
It  is  very  laughable  to  see  a  Catholic  quoting  scien 
tific  men  in  favor  of  Moses,  when  the  same  men 
would  have  taken  great  pleasure  in  swearing  that 
the  Catholic  Church  was  the  worst  possible  organiza 
tion.  That  church  should  forever  hold  its  peace. 
Wherever  it  has  had  authority  it  has  destroyed 
human  liberty.  It  reduced  Italy  to  a  hand  organ, 
Spain  to  a  guitar,  Ireland  to  exile,  Portugal  to  con 
tempt.  Catholicism  is  the  upas  tree  in  whose 
shade  the  intellect  of  man  has  withered.  The  rec 
ollection  of  the  massacre  of  St.  Bartholomew  should 
make  a  priest  silent,  and  the  recollection  of  the 
same  massacre  should  make  a  Protestant  careful. 


I  can  afford  to  be  maligned  by  a  priest,  when  the 
same  party  denounces  Garibaldi,  the  hero  of  Italy, 
as  a  "  pet  tiger"  to  Victor  Emmanuel.  I  could  not 
afford  to  be  praised  by  such  a  man.  I  thank  him 
for  his  abuse. 

Question.  What  do  you  think  of  the  point  that 
no  one  is  able  to  judge  of  these  things  unless  he  is 
a  Hebrew  scholar  ? 

Answer.  I  do  not  think  it  is  necessary  to  under 
stand  Hebrew  to  decide  as  to  the  probability  of 
springs  gushing  out  of  dead  bones,  or  of  the  dead 
getting  out  of  their  graves,  or  of  the  probability  of 
ravens  keeping  a  hotel  for  wandering  prophets.  I 
hardly  think  it  is  necessary  even  to  be  a  Greek 
scholar  to  make  up  my  mind  as  to  whether  devils 
actually  left  a  person  and  took  refuge  in  the  bodies 
of  swine.  Besides,  if  the  Bible  is  not  properly 
translated,  the  circulation  ought  to  stop  until  the 
corrections  are  made.  I  am  not  accountable  if  God 
made  a  revelation  to  me  in  a  language  that  he 
knew  I  never  would  understand.  If  he  wishes  to 
convey  any  information  to  my  mind,  he  certainly 
should  do  it  in  English  before  he  eternally  damns 
me  for  paying  no  attention  to  it. 

Question.     Are  not  many  of  the  contradictions  in 
the  Bible  owing  to  mistranslations  ? 


Answer.  No.  Nearly  all  of  the  mistranslations 
have  been  made  to  help  out  the  text.  It  would  be 
much  worse,  much  more  contradictory  had  it  been 
correctly  translated.  Nearly  all  of  the  mistakes,  as 
Mr.  Weller  would  say,  have  been  made  for  the  pur 
poses  of  harmony. 

Question.  How  many  errors  do  you  suppose 
there  are  ? 

Answer.  Well,  I  do  not  know.  It  has  been  re 
ported  that  the  American  Bible  Society  appointed  a 
committee  to  hunt  for  errors,  and  the  said  committee 
returned  about  twenty-four  to  twenty-five  thousand. 
And  thereupon  the  leading  men  said,  to  correct  so 
many  errors  will  destroy  the  confidence  of  the  com 
mon  people  in  the  sacredness  of  the  Scriptures. 
Thereupon  it  was  decided  not  to  correct  any.  I 
saw  it  stated  the  other  day  that  a  very  prominent 
divine  charged  upon  the  Bible  Society  that  they 
knew  they  were  publishing  a  book  full  of  errors. 

Question.  What  is  your  opinion  of  the  Rible 
anyhow  ? 

Answer.     My  first  objection  is,  it  is  not  true. 

Second. — It  is  not  inspired. 

Third. — It  upholds  human  slavery. 

Fourth. — It  sanctions  concubinage. 

Fifth. — It  commands  the  most  infamously  cruel 


acts  of  war,  such  as  the  utter  destruction  of  old  men 
and  little  children. 

Sixth. — After  killing  fathers,  mothers  and  brothers, 
it  commands  the  generals  to  divide  the  girls  among 
the  soldiers  and  priests.  Beyond  this,  infamy  has 
never  gone.  If  any  God  made  this  order  I  am  op 
posed  to  him. 

Seventh. — It  upholds  human  sacrifice,  or,  at  least, 
seems  to,  from  the  following  : 

"  Notwithstanding  no  devoted  thing  that  a  man 
shall  devote  unto  the  Lord  of  all  that  he  hath,  both 
of  man  and  beast,  and  of  the  field  of  his  possession, 
shall  be  sold  or  redeemed  ;  every  devoted  thing  is 
most  holy  unto  the  Lord." 

"  None  devoted,  which  shall  be  devoted,  of  men, 
shall  be  redeemed  ;  but  shall  surely  be  put  to  death." 
(Twenty-seventh  Chapter  of  Leviticus,  28th  and  2 9th 

Eighth. — Its  laws  are  absurd,  and  the  punishments 
cruel  and  unjust.  Think  of  killing  a  man  for  making 
hair  oil!  Think  of  killing  a  man  for  picking  up 
sticks  on  Sunday ! 

Ninth. — It  upholds  polygamy. 

Tenth. — It  knows  nothing  of  astronomy,  nothing 
of  geology,  nothing  of  any  science  whatever. 

Eleventh. — It  is  opposed  to  religious  liberty,  and 


teaches  a  man  to  kill  his  own  wife  if  she  differs  with 
him  on  religion  ;  that  is  to  say,  if  he  is  orthodox. 
There  is  no  book  in  the  world  in  which  can  be 
found  so  much  that  is  thoroughly  despicable  and  in 
famous.  Of  course  there  are  some  good  passages, 
some  good  sentiments.  But  they  are,  at  least  in  the 
Old  Testment,  few  and  far  between. 

Twelfth. — It  treats  woman  like  a  beast,  and  man 
like  a  slave.  It  fills  heaven  with  tyranny, and  earth 
with  hypocrisy  and  grief. 

Question.     Do  you  think  any  book  inspired  ? 

Answer.  No.  I  do  not  think  any  book  is  inspir 
ed.  But,  if  it  had  been  the  intention  of  this  God  to 
give  to  man  an  inspired  book,  he  should  have  waited 
until  Shakespeare's  time,  and  used  Shakespeare 
as  the  instrument.  Then  there  never  would  have 
been  any  doubt  as  to  the  inspiration  of  the  book. 
There  is  more  beauty,  more  goodness,  more  intelli 
gence  in  Shakespeare  than  in  all  the  sacred  books  of 
this  world. 

Question.  What  do  you  think  as  a  freethinker 
of  the  Sunday  question  in  Cincinnati  ? 

Answer.  I  think  that  it  is  a  good  thing  to  have  a 
day  of  recreation,  a  day  of  rest,  a  day  of  joy,  not  'a 
day  of  dyspepsia  and  theology.  I  am  in  favor  of 


operas  and  theaters,  music  and  happiness  on  Sunday. 
I  am  opposed  to  all  excesses  on  any  day.  If  the 
clergy  will  take  half  the  pains  to  make  the  people 
intelligent  that  they  do  to  make  them  superstitious, 
the  world  will  soon  have  advanced  so  far  that  it  can 
enjoy  itself  without  excess.  The  ministers  want 
Sunday  for  themselves.  They  want  everybody  to 
come  to  church  because  they  can  go  no  where  else. 
It  is  like  the  story  of  a  man  coming  home  at  three 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  who,  upon  being  asked  by 
his  wife  how  he  could  come  at  such  a  time  of  night, 
replied,  "  The  fact  is,  every  other  place  is  shut  up." 
The  orthodox  clergy  know  that  their  churches  will 
remain  empty  if  any  other  place  remains  open.  Do 
not  forget  to  say  that  I  mean  orthodox  churches, 
orthodox  clergy,  because  I  have  great  respect  for 
Unitarians  and  Universalists. 


Question.  I  understand,  Colonel  Ingersoll,  that  you 
have  been  indicted  in  the  State  of  Delaware  for  the 
crime  of  blasphemy  ? 

Answer.  Well,  not  exactly  indicted.  The  Judge, 
who,  I  believe,  is  the  Chief  Justice  of  the  State, 
dedicated  the  new  court-house  at  Wilmington  to  the 
service  of  the  Lord,  by  a  charge  to  the  grand  jury, 
in  which  he  almost  commanded  them  to  bring  in  a 
bill  of  indictment  against  me,  for  what  he  was  pleased 
to  call  the  crime  of  blasphemy.  Now,  as  a  matter  of 
fact,  there  can  be  no  crime  committed  by  man 
against  God,  provided  always  that  a  correct  defini 
tion  of  the  Deity  has  been  given  by  the  orthodox 
churches.  They  say  that  he  is  infinite.  If  so,  he 
is  conditionless.  I  can  injure  a  man  by  changing  his 
conditions.  Take  from  a  man  water,  and  he  perishes 
of  thirst ;  take  from  him  air,  and  he  suffocates  ; 
he  may  die  from  too  much,  or  too  little  heat.  That 

•  Brooklyn  Eagle,  1881.  (4BB) 


is  because  he  is  a  conditioned  being.  But  if  God  is 
conditionless,  he  cannot  in  any  way  be  affected  by 
what  anybody  else  may  do  ;  and,  consequently,  a  sin 
against  God  is  as  impossible  as  a  sin  against  the 
principle  of  the  lever  or  inclined  plane.  This  crime 
called  blasphemy  was  invented  by  priests  for  the 
purpose  of  defending  doctrines  not  able  to  take  care 
of  themselves.  Blasphemy  is  a  kind  of  breastwork 
behind  which  hypocrisy  has  crouched  for  thousands 
of  years.  Injustice  is  the  only  blasphemy  that  can  be 
committed,  and  justice  is  the  only  true  worship.  Man 
can  sin  against  man,  but  not  against  God.  But  even 
if  man  could  sin  against  God,  it  has  always  struck 
me  that  an  infinite  being  would  be  entirely  able  to 
take  care  of  himself  without  the  assistance  of  a  Chief 
Justice.  Men  have  always  been  violating  the  rights 
of  men,  under  the  plea  of  defending  the  rights  of  God, 
and  nothing,  for  ages,  was  so  perfectly  delightful 
to  the  average  Christian  as  to  gratify  his  revenge, 
and  get  God  in  his  debt  at  the  same  time.  Chief 
Justice  Comegys  has  taken  this  occasion  to  lay  up 
for  himself  what  he  calls  treasures  in  heaven,  and  on 
the  last  great  day  he  will  probably  rely  on  a  certified 
copy  of  this  charge.  The  fact  that  he  thinks  the 
Lord  needs  help  satisfies  me  that  in  that  particular 
neighborhood  I  am  a  litttle  ahead. 


The  fact  is,  I  never  delivered  but  one  lecture  in 
Delaware.  That  lecture,  however,  had  been  pre 
ceded  by  a  Republican  stump  speech  ;  and,  to  tell 
you  the  truth,  I  imagine  that  the  stump  speech  is 
what  a  Yankee  would  call  the  heft  of  the  offence. 
It  is  really  hard  for  me  to  tell  whether  I  have  blas 
phemed  the  Deity  or  the  Democracy.  Of  course  I 
have  no  personal  feeling  whatever  against  the  Judge. 
In  fact  he  has  done  me  a  favor.  He  has  called  the 
attention  of  the  civilized  world  to  certain  barbarian 
laws  that  disfigure  and  disgrace  the  statute  books  of 
most  of  the  States.  These  laws  were  passed  when 
our  honest  ancestors  were  burning  witches,  trading 
Quaker  children  to  the  Barbadoes  for  rum  and  mo 
lasses,  branding  people  upon  the  forehead,  boring 
their  tongues  with  hot  irons,  putting  one  another  in 
the  pillory,  and,  generally,  in  the  name  of  God,  mak 
ing  their  neighbors  as  uncomfortable  as  possible. 
We  have  outgrown  these  laws  without  repealing 
them.  They  are,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  in  most  com 
munities  actually  dead ;  but  in  some  of  the  States, 
like  Delaware,  I  suppose  they  could  be  enforced, 
though  there  might  be  trouble  in  selecting  twelve 
men,  even  in  Delaware,  without  getting  one  man 
broad  enough,  sensible  enough,  and  honest  enough, 
to  do  justice.  I  hardly  think  it  would  be  possible  in 


any  State  to  select  a  jury  in  the  ordinary  way  that 
would  convict  any  person  charged  with  what  is  com 
monly  known  as  blasphemy. 

All  the  so-called  Christian  churches  have  accused 
each  other  of  being  blasphemers,  in  turn.  The 
Catholics  denounced  the  Presbyterians  as  blas 
phemers,  the  Presbyterians  denounced  the  Baptists  ; 
the  Baptists,  the  Presbyterians,  and  the  Catholics  all 
united  in  denouncing  the  Quakers,  and  they  all  to 
gether  denounced  the  Unitarians — called  them  blas 
phemers  because  they  did  not  acknowledge  the  divin 
ity  of  Jesus  Christ — the  Unitarians  only  insisting  that 
three  infinite  beings  were  not  necessary,  that  one 
infinite  being  could  do  all  the  business,  and  that  the 
other  two  were  absolutely  useless.  This  was  called 

Then  all  the  churches  united  to  call  the  Univer- 
salists  blasphemers.  I  can  remember  when  a  Uni- 
versalist  was  regarded  with  a  thousand  times  more 
horror  than  an  infidel  is  to-day.  There  is  this 
strange  thing  about  the  history  of  theology — nobody 
has  ever  been  charged  with  blasphemy  who  thought 
God  bad.  For  instance,  it  never  would  have  excited 
any  theological  hatred  if  a  man  had  insisted  that 
God  would  finally  damn  everybody.  Nearly  all 
heresy  has  consisted  in  making  God  better  than  the 


majority  in  the  churches  thought  him  to  be.  The 
orthodox  Christian  never  will  forgive  the  Univer- 
salist  for  saying  that  God  is  too  good  to  damn  any 
body  eternally.  Now,  all  these  sects  have  charged 
each  other  with  blasphemy,  without  anyone  of  them 
knowing  really  what  blasphemy  is.  I  suppose  they 
have  occasionally  been  honest,  because  they  have 
mostly  been  ignorant.  It  is  said  that  Torquemada 
used  to  shed  tears  over  the  agonies  of  his  victims 
and  that  he  recommended  slow  burning,  not  because 
he  wished  to  inflict  pain,  but  because  he  really  de 
sired  to  give  the  gentleman  or  lady  he  was  burning 
a  chance  to  repent  of  his  or  her  sins,  and  make  his 
or  her  peace  with  God  previous  to  becoming  a 

The  root,  foundation,  germ  and  cause  of  nearly  all 
religious  persecution  is  the  idea  that  some  certain 
belief  is  necessary  to  salvation.  If  orthodox  Chris 
tians  are  right  in  this  idea,  then  persecution  of  all 
heretics  and  infidels  is  a  duty.  If  I  have  the  right 
to  defend  my  body  from  attack,  surely  I  should  have 
a  like  right  to  defend  my  soul.  Under  our  laws  I 
could  kill  any  man  who  was  endeavoring,  for 
example,  to  take  the  life  of  my  child.  How  much 
more  would  I  be  justified  in  killing  any  wretch  who 
was  endeavoring  to  convince  my  child  of  the  truth 


of  a  doctrine  which, if  believed,  would  result   in  the 
eternal  damnation  of  that  child's  soul  ? 

If  the  Christian  religion,  as  it  is  commonly  under 
stood,  is  true,  no  infidel  should  be  allowed  to  live ; 
every  heretic  should  be  hunted  from  the  wide  world 
as  you  would  hunt  a  wild  beast,  They  should  not 
be  allowed  to  speak,  they  should  not  be  allowed  to 
poison  the  minds  of  women  and  children  ;  in  other 
words,  they  should  not  be  allowed  to  empty  heaven 
and  fill  hell.  The  reason  I  have  liberty  in  this 
country  is  because  the  Christians  of  this  country  do 
not  believe  their  doctrine.  The  passage  from  the 
Bible,  "  Go  ye  into  all  the  world  and  preach  the 
Gospel  to  every  creature,"  coupled  with  the  assur 
ance  that,  "  Whosoever  believeth  and  is  baptized 
shall  be  saved,  and  whoso  believeth  not  shall  be  dam 
ned,"  is  the  foundation  of  most  religious  persecution. 
Every  word  in  that  passage  has  been  fire  and  fagot, 
whip  and  sword,  chain  and  dungeon.  That  one 
passage  has  probably  caused  more  agony  among 
men,  women  and  children,'  than  all  the  passages  of 
all  other  books  that  were  ever  printed.  Now,  this 
passage  was  not  in  the  book  of  Mark  when  origin 
ally  written,  but  was  put  there  many  years  after  the 
gentleman  who  evolved  the  book  of  Mark  from  his 
inner  consciousness,  had  passed  away.  It  was  put 


there  by  the  church — that  is  to  say,  by  hypocrisy 
and  priestly  craft,  to  bind  the  consciences  of  men 
and  force  them  to  come  under  ecclesiastical  and 
spiritual  power;  and  that  passage  has  been  received 

and  believed,  and  been  made  binding  by  law  in  most 

.  •  * 

countries  ever  since. 

What  would  you  think  of  a  law  compelling  a  man 
to  admire  Shakespeare,  or  calling  it  blasphemy  to 
laugh  at  Hamlet  ?  Why  is  not  a  statute  neces 
sary  to  uphold  the  reputation  of  Raphael  or  of 
Michael  Angelo  ?  Is  it  possible  that  God  cannot 
write  a  book  good  enough  and  great  enough  and 
grand  enough  not  to  excite  the  laughter  of  his 
children  ?  Is  it  possible  that  he  is  compelled  to 
have  his  literary  reputation  supported  by  the  State 
of  Delaware  ? 

There  is  another  very  strange  thing  about  this 
business.  Admitting  that  the  Bible  is  the  work  of 
God,  it  is  not  any  more  his  work  than  are  the  sun, 
the  moon  and  the  stars  or  the  earth,  and  if  for  dis 
believing  this  Bible  we  are  to  be  damned  forever, 
we  ought  to  be  equally  damned  for  a  mistake  in 
geology  or  astronomy.  The  idea  of  allowing  a  man 
to  go  to  heaven  who  swears  that  the  earth  is  flat, 
and  damning  a  fellow  who  thinks  it  is  round,  but  who 
has  his  honest  doubts  about  Joshua,  seems  to  me  to 


be  perfectly  absurd.  It  seems  to  me  that  in  this 
view  of  it,  it  is  just  as  necessary  to  be  right  on  the 
subject  of  the  equator  as  on  the  doctrine  of  infant 

Question.  What  was  in  your  judgment  the  motive 
of  Judge  Comegys  ?  Is  he  a  personal  enemy  of 
yours  ?  Have  you  ever  met  him  ?  Have  you  any 
idea  what  reason  he  had  for  attacking  you  ? 

Answer.  I  do  not  know  the  gentleman,  personally. 
Outside  of  the  political  reason  I  have  intimated,  I 
do  not  know  why  he  attacked  me.  I  once  delivered  a 
lecture  entitled  "What  must  we  do  to  be  Saved  ?"  in 
the  city  of  Wilmington,  and  in  that  lecture  I  pro 
ceeded  to  show,  or  at  least  tried  to  show,  that 
Matthew,  Mark  and  Luke  knew  nothing  about  Chris 
tianity,  as  it  is  understood  in  Delaware  ;  and  I  also 
endeavored  to  show  that  all  men  have  an  equal  right 
to  think,  and  that  a  man  is  only  under  obligations  to 
be  honest  with  himself,  and  with  all  men,  and  that 
he  is  not  accountable  for  the  amount  of  mind  that  he 
has  been  endowed  with — otherwise  it  might  be  Judge 
Comegys  himself  would  be  damned — but  that  he  is 
only  accountable  for  the  use  he  makes  of  what  little 
mind  he  has  received.  I  held  that  the  safest  thing 
for  every  man  was  to  be  absolutely  honest,and  to  ex 
press  his  honest  thought.  After  the  delivery  of  this 


lecture  various  ministers  in  Wilmington  began  re 
plying,  and  after  the  preaching  of  twenty  or  thirty 
sermons,  not  one  of  which,  considered  as  a  reply, 
was  a  success,  I  presume  it  occurred  to  these  ministers 
that  the  shortest  and  easiest  way  would  be  to  have 
me  indicted  and  imprisoned. 

In  this  I  entirely  agree  with  them.  It  is  the  old 
and  time -honored  way.  I  believe  it  is,  as  it  always 
has  been,  easier  to  kill  two  infidels  than  to  answer 
one  ;  and  if  Christianity  expects  to  stem  the  tide  that 
is  now  slowly  rising  over  the  intellectual  world,  it 
must  be  done  by  brute  force,  and  by  brute  force 
alone.  And  it  must  be  done  pretty  soon,  or  they 
will  not  have  the  brute  force.  It  is  doubtful  if  they 
have  a  majority  of  the  civilized  world  on  their  side 
to-day.  No  heretic  ever  would  have  been  burned  if 
he  could  have  been  answered.  No  theologian  ever 
called  for  the  help  of  the  law  until  his  logic  gave  out. 

I  suppose  Judge  Comegys  to  be  a  Presbyterian. 
Where  did  he  get  his  right  to  be  a  Presbyterian  ? 
Where  did  he  get  his  right  to  decide  which  creed  is  the 
correct  one  ?  How  did  he  dare  to  pit  his  little  brain 
against  the  word  of  God  ?  He  may  say  that  his 
father  was  a  Presbyterian.  But  what  was  his  grand 
father  ?  If  he  will  only  go  back  far  enough  he  will, 
in  all  probability,  find  that  his  ancestors  were  Cath- 


olics,  and  if  he  will  go  back  a  little  farther  still,  that 
they  were  barbarians  ;  that  at  one  time  they  were 
naked,  and  had  snakes  tattooed  on  their  bodies.  What 
right  had  they  to  change  ?  Does  he  not  perceive 
that  had  the  savages  passed  the  same  kind  of  laws 
that  now  exist  in  Delaware,  they  could  have  pre 
vented  any  change  in  belief?  They  would  have  had 
a  whipping-post,  too,  and  they  would  have  said  : 
"Any  gentleman  found  without  snakes  tattooed  upon 
his  body  shall  be  held  guilty  of  blasphemy  ;  "  and  all 
the  ancestors  of  this  Judge,  and  of  these  ministers, 
would  have  said,  Amen  ! 

What  right  had  the  first  Presbyterian  to  be  a 
Presbyterian  ?  He  must  have  been  a  blasphemer 
first.  A  small  dose  of  pillory  might  have  changed 
his  religion.  Does  this  Judge  think  that  Delaware  is 
incapable  of  any  improvement  in  a  religious  point  of 
view?  Does  he  think  that  the  Presbyterians  of 
Delaware  are  not  only  the  best  now,  but  that  they 
will  forever  be  the  best  that  God  can  make  ?  Is 
there  to  be  no  advancement  ?  Has  there  been  no 
advancement  ?  Are  the  pillory  and  the  whipping 
post  to  be  used  to  prevent  an  excess  of  thought 
in  the  county  of  New  Castle  ?  Has  the  county 
ever  been  troubled  that  way  ?  Has  this  Judge 
ever  had  symptons  of  any  such  disease  ?  Now,  I  want 


it  understood  that  I  like  this  Judge,  and  my  prin 
cipal  reason  for  liking  him  is  that  he  is  the  last  of  his 
race.  He  will  be  so  inundated  with  the  ridicule  of 
mankind  that  no  other  Chief  Justice  in  Delaware,  or 
anywhere  else,  will  ever  follow  his  illustrious  ex 
ample.  The  next  Judge  will  say  :  "  So  far  as  I  am 
concerned,  the  Lord  may  attend  to  his  own  business, 
and  deal  with  infidels  as  he  may  see  proper."  Thus 
great  good  has  been  accomplished  by  this  Judge, 
which  shows,  as  Burns  puts  it,  "  that  a  pot  can  be 
boiled,  even  if  the  devil  tries  to  prevent  it." 

Question.  How  will  this  action  of  Delaware,  in 
your  opinion,  affect  the  other  States  ? 

Answer.  Probably  a  few  other  States  needed  an 
example  exactly  of  this  kind.  New  Jersey,  in  all 
probability,  will  say  :  "  Delaware  is  perfectly  ridicu 
lous,"  and  yet,  had  Delaware  waited  awhile,  New 
Jersey  might  have  done  the  same  thing.  Maryland 
will  exclaim  :  "  Did  you  ever  see  such  a  fool ! " 
And  yet  I  was  threatened  in  that  State.  The  aver 
age  American  citizen,  taking  into  consideration  the 
fact  that  we  are  blest,  or  cursed,  with  about  one 
hundred  thousand  preachers,  and  that  these  preach 
ers  preach  on  the  average  one  hundred  thousand 
sermons  a  week — some  of  which  are  heard  clear 
through — will  unquestionably  ho!4  that  a  man  who 


happens  to  differ  with  all  these  parsons  ought  to 
have  and  shall  have  the  privilege  of  expressing  his 
mind  ;  and  that  the  one  hundred  thousand  clergy 
men  ought  to  be  able  to  put  down  the  one  man  who 
happens  to  disagree  with  them,  without  calling  on 
the  army  or  navy  to  do  it,  especially  when  it  is 
taken  into  consideration  that  an  infinite  God  is 
already  on  their  side.  Under  these  circumstances, 
the  average  American  will  say  :  "  Let  him  talk,  and 
let  the  hundred  thousand  preachers  answer  him  to 
their  hearts' content."  So  that  in  my  judgment  the 
result  of  the  action  of  Delaware  will  be  :  First, to 
liberalize  all  other  States,  and  second,  finally  to 
liberalize  Delaware  itself.  In  many  of  the  States 
they  have  the  same  idiotic  kind  of  laws  as  those 
found  in  Delaware — with  the  exception  of  those 
blessed  institutions  for  the  spread  of  the  Gospel, 
known  as  the  pillory  and  the  whipping-post.  There 
is  a  law  in  Maine  by  which  a  man  can  be  put  into 
the  penitentiary  for  denying  the  providence  of  God, 
and  the  day  of  judgment.  There  are  similar  laws 
in  most  of  the  New  England  States.  One  can  be 
imprisoned  in  Maryland  for  a  like  offence. 

In  North  Carolina  no  man  can  hold  office  that  has 
not  a  certain  religious  belief;  and  so  in  several 
other  of  the  Southern  States.  In  half  the  States  of 


this  Union,  if  my  wife  and  children  should  be  mur 
dered  before  my  eyes,  I  would  not  be  allowed  in  a 
court  of  justice  to  tell  who  the  murderer  was.  You 
see  that,  for  hundreds  of  years,  Christianity  has  en 
deavored  to  put  the  brand  of  infamy  on  every 
intellectual  brow. 

Question.  I  see  that  one  objection  to  your 
lectures  urged  by  Judge  Comegys  on  the  grand 
jury  is,  that  they  tend  to  a  breach  of  the  peace — to 
riot  and  bloodshed. 

Answer.  Yes  ;  Judge  Comegys  seems  to  be 
afraid  that  people  who  love  their  enemies  will  mob 
their  friends.  He  is  afraid  that  those  disciples  who, 
when  smitten  on  one  cheek  turn  the  other  to  be 
smitten  also,  will  get  up  a  riot.  He  seems  to  im 
agine  that  good  Christians  feel  called  upon  to  violate 
the  commands  of  the  Lord  in  defence  of  the  Lord's 
reputation.  If  Christianity  produces  people  who 
cannot  hear  their  doctrines  discussed  without  raising 
mobs,  and  shedding  blood,  the  sooner  it  is  stopped 
being  preached  the  better. 

There  is  not  the  slightest  danger  of  any  infidel 
attacking  a  Christian  for  his  belief,  and  there  never 
will  be  an  infidel  mob  for  such  a  purpose.  Chris 
tians  can  teach  and  preach  their  views  to  their  hearts' 
content.  They  can  send  all  unbelievers  to  an  eternal 


hell,  if  it  gives  them  the  least  pleasure,  and  they  may 
bang  their  Bibles  as  long  as  their  fists  last,  but  no 
infidel  will  be  in  danger  of  raising  a  riot  to  stop  them, 
or  put  them  down  by  brute  force,  or  even  by  an  ap 
peal  to  the  law,  and  I  would  advise  Judge  Comegys, 
if  he  wishes  to  compliment  Christianity,  to  change 
his  language  and  say  that  he  feared  a  breach  of  the 
peace  might  be  committed  by  the  infidels — not  by 
the  Christians.  He  may  possibly  have  thought  that 
it  was  my  intention  to  attack  his  State.  But  I  can 
assure  him,  that  if  ever  I  start  a  warfare  of  that  kind, 
I  shall  take  some  State  of  my  size.  There  is  no 
glory  to  be  won  in  wringing  the  neck  of  a  "Blue 
Hen ! " 

Question.  I  should  judge,  Colonel,  that  you  are 
prejudiced  against  the  State  of  Delaware  ? 

Answer.  Not  by  any  means.  Oh,  no !  I  know  a 
great  many  splendid  people  in  Delaware,  and  since 
I  have  known  more  of  their  surroundings,  my  admi 
ration  for  them  has  increased.  They  are,  on  the 
whole,  a  very  good  people  in  that  State.  I  heard  a 
story  the  other  day  :  An  old  fellow  in  Delaware  has 
been  for  the  last  twenty  or  thirty  years  gathering 
peaches  there  in  their  season — a  kind  of  peach 
tramp.  One  day  last  fall,  just  as  the  season  closed, 
he  was  leaning  sadly  against  a  tree,  "  Boys !  "  sa/d  he, 


"  I'd  like  to  come  back  to  Delaware  a  hundred  years 
from  now."  The  boys  asked,  "  What  for  ?"  The 
old  fellow  replied  :  "  Just  to  see  how  damned  little 
they'd  get  the  baskets  by  that  time."  And  it  oc 
curred  to  me  that  people  who  insist  that  twenty-two 
quarts  make  a  bushel, should  be  as  quiet  as  possible 
on  the  subject  of  blasphemy. 


Question.  Have  you  read  Chief  Justice  Comegys' 
compliments  to  you  before  the  Delaware  grand 
jury  ? 

Answer.  Yes,  I  have  read  his  charge,  in  which 
he  relies  upon  the  law  passed  in  1 740.  After  read 
ing  his  charge  it  seemed  to  me  as  though  he  had 
died  about  the  date  of  the  law,  had  risen  from  the 
dead,  and  had  gone  right  on  where  he  had  left  off. 
I  presume  he  is  a  good  man,  but  compared  with 
other  men,  is  something  like  his  State  when  com 
pared  with  other  States. 

A  great  many  people  will  probably  regard  the 
charge  of  Judge  Comegys  as  unchristian,  but  I  do 
not.  I  consider  that  the  law  of  Delaware  is  in  exact 
accord  with  the  Bible,  and  that  the  pillory,  the  whip 
ping-post,  and  the  suppression  of  free  speech  are 
the  natural  fruit  of  the  Old  and  New  Testament. 

Delaware  is  right.  Christianity  can  not  succeed, 
can  not  exist,  without  the  protection  of  law.  Take 

•  Chicago  Times,  Feb.  14,  1881.  (480) 


from  orthodox  Christianity  the  protection  of  law, 
and  all  church  property  would  be  taxed  like  other 
property.  The  Sabbath  would  be  no  longer  a  day 
devoted  to  superstition.  Everyone  could  express 
his  honest  thought  upon  every  possible  subject. 
Everyone,  notwithstanding  his  belief,  could  testify 
in  a  court  of  justice.  In  other  words,  honesty 
would  be  on  an  equality  with  hypocrisy.  Science 
would  stand  on  a  level,  so  far  as  the  law  is  concern 
ed,  with  superstition.  Whenever  this  happens  the 
end  of  orthodox  Christianity  will  be  near. 

By  Christianity  I  do  not  mean  charity,  mercy, 
kindness,  forgiveness.  I  mean  no  natural  virtue, 
because  all  the  natural  virtues  existed  and  had  been 
practiced  by  hundreds  and  thousands  of  millions  be 
fore  Christ  was  born.  There  certainly  were  some 
good  men  even  in  the  days  of  Christ  in  Jerusalem, 
before  his  death. 

By  Christianity  I  mean  the  ideas  of  redemp 
tion,  atonement,  a  good  man  dying  for  a  bad  man, 
and  the  bad  man  getting  a  receipt  in  full.  By 
Christianity  I  mean  that  system  that  insists  that  in  the 
next  world  a  few  will  be  forever  happy,  while  the 
many  will  be  eternally  miserable.  Christianity,  as  I 
have  explained  it,  must  be  protected,  guarded,  and 
sustained  by  law.  It  was  founded  by  the  sword — 


that  is  to  say,  by  physical  force, — and  must  be  pre 
served  by  like  means. 

In  many  of  the  States  of  the  Union  an  infidel  is  not 
allowed  to  testify.  In  the  State  of  Delaware,  if  Alex 
ander  von  Humboldt  were  living,  he  could  not  be  a 
witness,  although  he  had  more  brains  than  the  State 
of  Delaware  has  ever  produced,  or  is  likely  to  pro 
duce  as  long  as  the  laws  of  1 740  remain  in  force. 
Such  men  as  Huxley,  Tyndall  and  Haeckel  could 
be  fined  and  imprisoned  in  the  State  of  Delaware, 
and,  in  fact,  in  many  States  of  this  Union. 

Christianity,  in  order  to  defend  itself,  puts  the 
brand  of  infamy  on  the  brow  of  honesty.  Christian 
ity  marks  with  a  letter  "  C,"  standing  for  "  convict" 
every  brain  that  is  great  enough  to  discover  the 
frauds.  I  have  no  doubt  that  Judge  Comegys 
is  a  good  and  sincere  Christian.  I  believe  that 
he,  in  his  charge,  gives  an  exact  reflection  of  the 
Jewish  Jehovah.  I  believe  that  every  word  he 
said  was  in  exact  accord  with  the  spirit  of  orthodox 
Christianity.  Against  this  man  personally  I  have 
nothing  to  say.  I  know  nothing  of  his  character 
except  as  I  gather  it  from  this  charge,  and  after 
reading  the  charge  I  am  forced  simply  to  say,  Judge 
Comegys  is  a  Christian. 

It  seems,  however,  that  the  grand  jury  dared  to 


take  no  action,  notwithstanding  they  had  been 
counseled  to  do  so  by  the  Judge.  Although  the 
Judge  had  quoted  to  them  the  words  of  George  I. 
of  blessed  memory  ;  although  he  had  quoted  to 
them  the  words  of  Lord  Mansfield,  who  became  a 
Judge  simply  because  of  his  hatred  of  the  English 
colonists,  simply  because  he  despised  liberty  in  the 
new  world  ;  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  I  could 
have  been  punished  with  insult,  with  imprisonment, 
and  with  stripes,  and  with  every  form  of  degrada 
tion  ;  notwithstanding  that  only  a  few  years  ago  I 
could  have  been  branded  upon  the  forehead,  bored 
through  the  tongue,  maimed  and  disfigured,  still, 
such  has  been  the  advance  even  in  the  State  of 
Delaware, owing,  it  may  be,  in  great  part  to  the  one 
lecture  delivered  by  me,  that  the  grand  jury  abso 
lutely  refused  to  indict  me. 

The  grand  jury  satisfied  themselves  and  their 
consciences  simply  by  making  a  report  in  which 
they  declared  that  my  lecture  had  "  no  parallel  in  the 
habits  of  respectable  vagabondism  ;"  that  I  was* 'an 
arch-blasphemer  and  reviler  of  God  and  religion," 
and  recommended  that  should  I  ever  attempt  to 
lecture  again  I  should  be  taught  that  in  Delaware 
blasphemy  is  a  crime  punishable  by  fine  and  im 
prisonment.  I  have  no  doubt  that  every  mem- 


her  of  the  grand  jury  signing  this  report  was  entirely 
honest ;  that  he  acted  in  exact  accord  with  what  he 
understood  to  be  the  demand  of  the  Christian  re 
ligion.  I  must  admit  that  for  Christians,  the  report  is 
exceedingly  mild  and  gentle. 

I  have  now  in  the  house,  letters  that  passed  be 
tween  certain  bishops  in  the  fifteenth  century,  in 
which  they  discussed  the  propriety  of  cutting  out  the 
tongues  of  heretics  before  they  were  burned.  Some 
of  the  bishops  were  in  favor  of  and  some  against  it. 
One  argument  for  cutting  out  their  tongues  which 
seemed  to  have  settled  the  question  was,  that  unless 
the  tongues  of  heretics  were  cut  out  they  might 
scandalize  the  gentlemen  who  were  burning  them, 
by  blasphemous  remarks  during  the  fire.  I  would 
commend  these  letters  to  Judge  Comegys  and  the 
members  of  the  grand  jury. 

I  want  it  distinctly  understood  that  I  have  noth 
ing  against  Judge  Comegys  or  the  grand  jury.  They 
act  as  'most  anybody  would,  raised  in  Delaware, 
in  the  shadow  of  the  whipping-post  and  the  pil 
lory.  We  must  remember  that  Delaware  was  a 
slave  State  ;  that  the  Bible  became  extremely  dear 
to  the  people  because  it  upheld  that  peculiar  institu 
tion.  We  must  remember  that  the  Bible  was  the 
block  on  which  mother  and  child  stood  for  sale  when 


they  were  separated  by  the  Christians  of  Delaware. 
The  Bible  was  regarded  as  the  title-pages  to  slavery, 
and  as  the  book  of  all  books  that  gave  the  right 
to  masters  to  whip  mothers  and  to  sell  children. 

There  are  many  offences  now  for  which  the  punish 
ment  is  whipping  and  standing  in  the  pillory  ;  where 
persons  are  convicted  of  certain  crimes  and  sent 
to  the  penitentiary,  and  upon  being  discharged  from 
the  penitentiary  are  furnished  by  the  State  with  a 
dark  jacket  plainly  marked  on  the  back  with  a  large 
Roman  "  C,"  the  letter  to  be  of  a  light  color.  This 
they  are  to  wear  for  six  months  after  being  discharged, 
and  if  they  are  found  at  any  time  without  the  dark 
jacket  and  the  illuminated  "  C"  they  are  to  be  pun 
ished  with  twenty  lashes  upon  the  bare  back.  The 
object,  I  presume,  of  this  law,  is  to  drive  from  the 
State  all  the  discharged  convicts  for  the  benefit  of 
New  Jersey,  Pennsylvania  and  Maryland — that  is  to 
say,  other  Christian  communities.  A  cruel  people 
make  cruel  laws. 

The  objection  I  have  to  the  whipping-post  is 
that  it  is  a  punishment  which  cannot  be  inflicted 
by  a  gentleman.  The  person  who  administers  the 
punishment  must,  of  necessity,  be  fully  as  degraded 
as  the  person  who  receives  it.  I  am  opposed  to  any 
kind  of  punishment  that  cannot  be  administered  by 


a  gentleman.  I  am  opposed  to  corporal  punishment 
everywhere.  It  should  be  taken  from  the  asylums 
and  penitentiaries,  and  any  man  who  would  apply 
the  lash  to  the  naked  back  of  another  is  beneath  the 
contempt  of  honest  people. 

Question.  Have  you  seen  that  Henry  Bergh  has 
introduced  in  the  New  York  Legislature  a  bill  pro 
viding  for  whipping  as  a  punishment  for  wife-beat 
ing  ? 

Answer.  The  objection  I  have  mentioned  is  fatal 
to  Mr.  Bergh's  bill.  He  will  be  able  to  get  persons 
to  beat  wife-beaters,  who,  under  the  same  circum 
stances,  would  be  wife-beaters  themselves.  If  they 
are  not  wife-beaters  when  they  commence  the  business 
of  beating  others,  they  soon  will  be.  I  think  that  wife- 
beating  in  great  cities  could  be  stopped  by  putting 
all  the  wife-beaters  at  work  at  some  government  em 
ployment,  the  value  of  the  work,  however,  to  go  to 
the  wives  and  children.  The  trouble  now  is  that 
most  of  the  wife-beating  is  among  the  extremely 
poor,  so  that  the  wife  by  informing  against  her  hus 
band,  takes  the  last  crust  out  of  her  own  mouth.  If 
you  substitute  whipping  or  flogging  for  the  prison 
here,  you  wjll  in  the  first  place  prevent  thousands 
of  wives  from  informing,  and  in  many  cases,  where 
the  wife  would  inform,  she  would  afterward  be 


murdered  by  the  flogged  brute.  This  brute  would 
naturally  resort  to  the  same  means  to  reform  his 
wife  that  the  State  had  resorted  to  for  the  purpose 
of  reforming  him.  Flogging  would  beget  flogging. 
Mr.  Bergh  is  a  man  of  great  kindness  of  heart. 
When  he  reads  that  a  wife  has  been  beaten,  he  says 
the  husband  deserves  to  be  beaten  himself.  But  if  Mr. 
Bergh  was  to  be  the  executioner,  I  imagine  you  could 
not  prove  by  the  back  of  the  man  that  the  punishment 
had  been  inflicted. 

Another  good  remedy  for  wife-beating  is  the 
abolition  of  the  Catholic  Church.  We  should  also 
do  away  with  the  idea  that  a  marriage  is  a  sac 
rament,  and  that  there  is  any  God  who  is  ren 
dered  happy  by  seeing  a  husband  and  wife  live  to 
gether,  although  the  husband  gets  most  of  his  earthly 
enjoyment  from  whipping  his  wife.  No  woman 
should  live  with  a  man  a  moment  after  he  has  struck 
her.  Just  as  the  idea  of  liberty  enlarges,  confidence 
in  the  whip  and  fist,  in  the  kick  and  blow,  will  dimin 
ish.  Delaware  occupies  toward  freethinkers  pre 
cisely  the  same  position  that  a  wife -beater  does  to 
ward  the  wife.  Delaware  knows  that  there  are  no 
reasons  sufficient  to  uphold  Christianity,  conse 
quently  these  reasons  are  supplemented  with  the 
pillory  and  the  whipping-post.  The  whipping-post 


is  considered  one  of  God's  arguments,  and  the  pillory 
is  a  kind  of  moral  suasion,  the  use  of  which  fills 
heaven  with  a  kind  of  holy  and  serene  delight.  I 
am  opposed  to  the  religion  of  brute  force,  but  all 
these  frightful  things  have  grown  principally  out  of 
a  belief  in  eternal  punishment  and  out  of  the  further 
idea  that  a  certain  belief  is  necessary  to  avoid  eternal 

If  Christianity  is  right,  Delaware  is  right.  If 
God  will  damn  every  body  forever  simply  for  being 
intellectually  honest,  surely  he  ought  to  allow  the 
good  people  of  Delaware  to  imprison  the  same  gentle 
man  for  two  months.  Of  course  there  are  thousands 
and  thousands  of  good  people  in  Delaware,  people 
who  have  been  in  other  States,  people  who  have 
listened  to  Republican  speeches,  people  who  have 
read  the  works  of  scientists,  who  hold  the  laws  of 
1 740  in  utter  abhorrence ;  people  who  pity  Judge 
Comegys  and  who  have  a  kind  of  sympathy  for  the 
grand  jury. 

You  will  see  that  at  the  last  election  Delaware 
lacked  only  six  or  seven  hundred  of  being  a  civilized 
State,  and  probably  in  1884  will  stand  redeemed  and 
regenerated,  with  the  laws  of  1 740  expunged  from 
the  statute  book.  Delaware  has  not  had  the  best  of 
opportunities.  You  must  remember  that  it  is  next 


to  New  Jersey,  which  is  quite  an  obstacle  in  the 
path  of  progress.  It  is  just  beyond  Maryland, 
which  is  another  obstacle.  I  heard  the  other  day 
that  God  originally  made  oysters  with  legs,  and 
afterward  took  them  off,  knowing  that  the  people 
of  Delaware  would  starve  to  death  before  they 
would  run  to  catch  anything.  Judge  Comegys  is 
the  last  judge  who  will  make  such  a  charge  in  the 
United  States.  He  has  immortalized  himself  as  the 
last  mile -stone  on  that  road.  He  is  the  last  of 
his  race.  No  more  can  be  born.  Outside  of  this 
he  probably  was  a  very  clever  man,  and  it  may  be, 
he  does  not  believe  a  word  he  utters.  The  probability 
is  that  he  has  underestimated  the  intelligence  of  the 
people  of  Delaware.  I  am  afraid  to  think  that  he  is 
entirely  honest,  for  fear  that  I  may  underestimate 
him  intellectually,  and  overestimate  him  morally. 
Nothing  could  tempt  me  to  do  this  man  injustice, 
though  I  could  hardly  add  to  the  injury  he  has  done 
himself.  He  has  called  attention  to  laws  that  ought 
to  be  repealed,  and  to  lectures  that  ought  to  be  re 
peated.  I  feel  in  my  heart  that  he  has  done  me  a 
great  service,  second  only  to  that  for  which  I  am 
indebted  to  the  grand  jury.  Had  the  Judge  known 
me  personally  he  probably  would  have  said  nothing. 
Should  I  have  the  misfortune  to  be  arrested  in  his 
State  and  sentenced  to  two  months  of  solitary  con- 


finement,  the  Judge  having  become  acquainted  with 
me  during  the  trial,  would  probably  insist  on  spend 
ing  most  of  his  time  in  my  cell.  At  the  end  of  the 
two  months  he  would,  I  think,  lay  himself  liable  to 
the  charge  of  blasphemy,  providing  he  had  honor 
enough  to  express  his  honest  thought.  After  all,  it 
is  all  a  question  of  honesty.  Every  man  is  right.  I 
cannot  convince  myself  there  is  any  God  who  will 
ever  damn  a  man  for  having  been  honest.  This 
gives  me  a  certain  hope  for  the  Judge  and  the  grand 

For  two  or  three  days  I  have  been  thinking 
what  joy  there  must  have  been  in  heaven  when 
Jehovah  heard  that  Delaware  was  on  his  side,  and 
remarked  to  the  angels  in  the  language  of  the  late 
Adjt.  Gen.  Thomas  :  "  The  eyes  of  all  Delaware  are 
upon  you." 



Ladies  and  Gentlemen  : 

WHEREVER  I  lecture,  as  a  rule,  some 
ministers  think  it  their  duty  to  reply  for  the 
purpose  of  showing  either  that  I  am  unfair,  or  that 
I  am  blasphemous,  or  that  I  laugh.  And  laughing 
has  always  been  considered  by  theologians  as  a 
crime.  Ministers  have  always  said  you  will  have  no 
respect  for  our  ideas  unless  you  are  solemn.  Solem 
nity  is  a  condition  precedent  to  believing  anything 
without  evidence.  And  if  you  can  only  get  a  man 
solemn  enough,  awed  enough,  he  will  believe  any 

In  this  city  the  Rev.  Dr.  Thomas  has  made  a  few 
remarks,  and  I  may  say  by  way  of  preface  that  I 
have  always  held  him  in  the  highest  esteem.  He 
struggles,  according  to  his  statement,  with  the 
problem  of  my  sincerity,  and  he  about  half  concludes 
that  I  am  not  sincere.  There  is  a  little  of  the 

•Col.  Ingersoll  filled  McVicker's  Theatre  again  yesterday  afternoon,  when  he 
answered  the  question  ' '  What  Must  We  Do  to  Be  Saved  f ' '  But  before  doing  so  he 
replied  to  the  recent  criticisms  of  city  clergymen  on  his  ' '  Talmagian  Theology."  — 
Chicago  Tribune,  Nov.  27,  1882.  (493) 


minister  left  in  Dr.  Thomas.  Ministers  always 
account  for  a  difference  of  opinion  by  attacking  the 
motive.  Now,  to  him,  it  makes  no  difference 
whether  I  am  sincere  or  insincere ;  the  question  is, 
Can  my  argument  be  answered  ?  Suppose  you 
could  prove  that  the  maker  of  the  multiplication 
table  held  mathematics  in  contempt ;  what  of  it  ? 
Ten  times  ten  would  be  a  hundred  still. 

My  sincerity  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  force  of 
the  argument — not  the  slightest.  But  this  gentle 
man  begins  to  suspect  that  I  am  doing  what  I  do  for 
the  sake  of  applause.  What  a  commentary  on  the 
Christian  religion,  that,  after  they  have  been  preach 
ing  it  for  sixteen  or  eighteen  hundred  years,  a  man 
attacks  it  for  the  sake  of  popularity — a  man  attacks 
it  for  the  purpose  of  winning  applause !  When  I 
commenced  to  speak  upon  this  subject  there  was  no 
appreciable  applause  ;  most  of  my  fellow-citizens 
differed  with  me ;  and  I  was  denounced  as  though  I 
had  been  a  wild  beast.  But  I  have  lived  to  see  the 
majority  of  the  men  and  women  of  intellect  in  the 
United  States  on  my  side ;  I  have  lived  to  see  the 
church  deny  her  creed ;  I  have  lived  to  see  ministers 
apologize  in  public  for  what  they  preached  ;  and  a 
great  and  glorious  work  is  going  on  until,  in  a  little 
while,  you  will  not  find  one  of  them,  unless  it  is 


some  old  petrifaction  of  the  red-stone  period,  who 
will  admit  that  he  ever  believed  in  the  Trinity,  in 
the  Atonement,  or  in  the  doctrine  of  Eternal  Agony. 
The  religion  preached  in  the  pulpits  does  not  satisfy 
the  intellect  of  America,  and  if  Dr.  Thomas  wishes 
to  know  why  people  go  to  hear  infidelity  it  is  this  : 
Because  they  are  not  satisfied  with  the  orthodox 
Christianity  of  the  day.  That  is  the  reason.  They 
are  beginning  to  hold  it  in  contempt. 

But  this  gentleman  imagines  that  I  am  insincere 
because  I  attacked  certain  doctrines  of  the  Bible. 
I  attacked  the  doctrine  of  eternal  pain.  I  hold  it  in 
infinite  and  utter  abhorrence.  And  if  there  be  a 
God  in  this  universe  who  made  a  hell ;  if  there  be  a 
God  in  this  universe  who  denies  to  any  human 
being  the  right  of  reformation,  then  that  God  is  not 
good,  that  God  is  not  just,  and  the  future  of  man  is 
infinitely  dark.  I  despise  that  doctrine,  and  I  have 
done  what  little  I  could  to  get  that  horror  from  the 
cradle,  that  horror  from  the  hearts  of  mothers,  that 
horror  from  the  hearts  of  husbands  and  fathers,  and 
sons,  and  brothers,  and  sisters.  It  is  a  doctrine  that 
turns  to  ashes  all  the  humanities  of  life  and  all  the 
hopes  of  mankind.  I  despise  it. 

And  the  gentleman  also  charges  that  I  am  wanting 
in  reverence.  I  admit  here  to-day  that  I  have  no 


reverence  for  a  falsehood.  I  do  not  care  how  old  it 
is,  and  I  do  not  care  who  told  it,  whether  the  men 
were  inspired  or  not.  I  have  no  reverence  for  what 
I  believe  to  be  false,  and  in  determining  what  is 
false  I  go  by  my  reason.  And  whenever  another 
man  gives  me  an  argument  I  examine  it.  If  it  is 
good  I  follow  it.  If  it  is  bad  I  throw  it  away.  I 
have  no  reverence  for  any  book  that  upholds  human 
slavery.  I  despise  such  a  book.  I  have  no  rever 
ence  for  any  book  that  upholds  or  palliates  the 
infamous  institution  of  polygamy.  I  have  no  rever 
ence  for  any  book  that  tells  a  husband  to  kill  his 
wife  if  she  differs  with  him  upon  the  subject  of 
religion.  I  have  no  reverence  for  any  book  that 
defends  wars  of  conquest  and  extermination.  I  have 
no  reverence  for  a  God  that  orders  his  legions  to 
slay  the  old  and  helpless,  and  to  whet  the  edge 
of  the  sword  with  the  blood  of  mothers  and 
babes.  I  have  no  reverence  for  such  a  book ; 
neither  have  I  any  reverence  for  the  author  of 
that  book.  No  matter  whether  he  be  God  or  man, 
I  have  no  reverence.  I  have  no  reverence  for  the 
miracles  of  the  Bible.  I  have  no  reverence  for  the 
story  that  God  allowed  bears  to  tear  children  in 
pieces.  I  have  no  reverence  for  the  miraculous,  but 
I  have  reverence  for  the  truth,  for  justice,  for  charity, 


for  humanity,  for  intellectual  liberty,  and  for  human 

I  have  the  right  to  do  my  own  thinking.  I 
am  going  to  do  it.  I  have  never  met  any  minister 
that  I  thought  had  brain  enough  to  think  for  himself 
and  for  me  too.  I  do  my  own.  I  have  no  rever 
ence  for  barbarism,  no  matter  how  ancient  it  may 
be,  and  no  reverence  for  the  savagery  of  the  Old 
Testament;  no  reverence  for  the  malice  of  the  New. 
And  let  me  tell  you  here  to-night  that  the  Old  Testa 
ment  is  a  thousand  times  better  than  the  New.  The 
Old  Testament  threatened  no  vengeance  beyond 
the  grave.  God  was  satisfied  when  his  enemy  was 
dead.  It  was  reserved  for  the  New  Testament — it 
was  reserved  for  universal  benevolence — to  rend 
the  veil  between  time  and  eternity  and  fix  the 
horrified  gaze  of  man  upon  the  abyss  of  hell.  The 
New  Testament  is  just  as  much  worse  than  the  Old, 
as  hell  is  worse  than  sleep.  And  yet  it  is  the  fashion 
to  say  that  the  Old  Testament  is  bad  and  that  the 
New  Testament  is  good.  I  have  no  reverence  for 
any  book  that  teaches  a  doctrine  contrary  to  my 
reason ;  no  reverence  for  any  book  that  teaches  a 
doctrine  contrary  to  my  heart ;  and,  no  matter  how 
old  it  is,  no  matter  how  many  have  believed  it,  no 
matter  how  many  have  died  on  account  of  it,  no 


matter  how  many  live  for  it,  I  have  no  reverence  for 
that  book,  and  I  am  glad  of  it. 

Dr.  Thomas  seems  to  think  that  I  should  approach 
these  things  with  infinite  care,  that  I  should  not 
attack  slavery,  or  polygamy,  or  religious  persecution, 
but  that  I  should  "  mildly  suggest " — mildly, — should 
not  hurt  anybody's  feelings.  When  I  go  to  church 
the  ministers  tell  me  I  am  going  to  hell.  When  I 
meet  one  I  tell  him,  "There  is  no  hell,"  and  he  says  : 
"  What  do  you  want  to  hurt  our  feelings  for  ?  "  He 
wishes  me  mildly  to  suggest  that  the  sun  and  moon 
did  not  stop,  that  may  be  the  bears  only  frightened 
the  children,  and  that,  after  all,  Lot's  wife  was  only 
scared.  Why,  there  was  a  minister  in  this  city  of 
Chicago  who  imagined  that  his  congregation  were 
progressive,  and,  in  his  pulpit,  he  said  that  he  did 
not  believe  the  story  of  Lot's  wife  —said  that  he  did 
not  think  that  any  sensible  man  would  believe  that 
a  woman  was  changed  into  salt ;  and  they  tried  him, 
and  the  congregation  thought  he  was  entirely  too 
fresh.  And  finally  he  went  before  that  church  and 
admitted  that  he  was  mistaken,  and  owned  up  to 
the  chloride  of  sodium,  and  said  :  "  I  not  only  take 
the  Bible  cum  grano  salis,  but  with  a  whole  bar- 

My  doctrine  is,  if  you  do  not  believe  a  thing, say 


so  say  so  ;  no  need  of  going  away  around  the  bush 
and  suggesting  may  be,  perhaps,  possibly,  peradven- 
ture.  That  is  the  ministerial  way,  but  I  do  not  like  it. 

I  am  also  charged  with  making  an  onslaught 
upon  the  good  as  well  as  the  bad.  I  say  here  to 
day  that  never  in  my  life  have  I  said  one  word 
against  honesty,  one  word  against  liberty,  one  word 
against  charity,  one  word  against  any  institution  that 
is  good.  I  attack  the  bad,  not  the  good,  and  I 
would  like  to  have  some  minister  point  out  in  some 
lecture  or  speech  that  I  have  delivered,  one  word 
against  the  good,  against  the  highest  happiness  of 
the  human  race. 

I  have  said  all  I  was  able  to  say  in  favor  of 
justice,  in  favor  of  liberty,  in  favor  of  home,  in  favor 
of  wife  and  children,  in  favor  of  progress,  and  in 
favor  of  universal  kindness  ;  but  not  one  word  in 
favor  of  the  bad,  and  I  never  expect  to. 

Dr.  Thomas  also  attacks  my  statement  that  the 
brain  thinks  in  spite  of  us. 

Doesn't  it  ?  Can  any  man  tell  what  he  is  going 
to  think  to-morrow  ?  You  see,  you  hear,  you  taste, 
you  feel,  you  smell — these  are  the  avenues  by  which 
Nature  approaches  the  brain,  the  consequence  of 
this  is  thought,  and  you  cannot  by  any  possibility 
help  thinking. 


Neither  can  you  determine  what  you  will  think. 
These  impressions  are  made  independently  of  your 
will.  "  But,"  says  this  reverend  doctor,  "Whence 
comes  this  conception  of  space  ?  "  I  can  tell  him. 
There  is  such  a  thing  as  matter.  We  conceive 
that  matter  occupies  room — space — and,  in  our 
minds,  space  is  simply  the  opposite  of  matter.  And 
it  comes  naturally — not  supernaturally. 

Does  the  gentleman  contend  there  had  to  be  a 
revelation  of  God  for  us  to  conceive  of  a  place  where 
there  is  nothing  ?  We  know  there  is  something. 
We  can  think  of  the  opposite  of  something,  and 
therefore  we  say  space.  "  But,"  says  this  gentleman, 
"  Where  do  we  get  the  idea  of  good  and  bad?  "  I 
can  tell  him  ;  no  trouble  about  that.  Every  man  has 
the  capacity  to  enjoy  and  the  capacity  to  suffer — 
every  man.  Whenever  a  man  enjoys  himself  he 
calls  that  good ;  whenever  he  suffers  he  calls  that 
bad.  The  animals  that  are  useful  to  him  he  calls 
good  ;  the  poisonous,  the  hurtful,  he  calls  bad. 
The  vegetables  that  he  can  eat  and  use  he  calls 
good  ;  those  that  are  of  no  use  except  to  choke 
the  growth  of  the  good  ones,  he  calls  bad.  When 
the  sun  shines,  when  everything  in  nature  is  out  that 
ministers  to  him,  he  says  "  this  is  good  ;"  when  the 
storm  comes  and  blows  down  his  hut,  when  the  frost 


comes  and  lays  down  his  crop,  he  says  "  this  is  bad." 
And  all  phenomena  that  affect  men  well  he  calls 
good  ;  all  that  affect  him  ill  he  calls  bad. 

Now,  then,  the  foundation  of  the  idea  of  right  and 
wrong  is  the  effect  in  nature  that  we  are  capable  of 
enjoying  or  capable  of  suffering.  That  is  the  founda 
tion  of  conscience  ;  and  if  man  could  not  suffer,  if  man 
could  not  enjoy,  we  never  would  have  dreamed  of  the 
word  conscience; and  the  words  right  and  wrong 
never  could  have  passed  human  lips.  There  are  no 
supernatural  fields.  We  get  our  ideas  from  experi 
ence — some  of  them  from  our  forefathers,  many  from 
experience.  A  man  works — food  does  not  come  of 
itself.  A  man  works  to  raise  it,  and,  after  he  has 
worked  in  the  sun  and  heat,  do  you  think  it  is  neces 
sary  that  he  should  have  a  revelation  from  heaven 
before  he  thinks  that  he  has  a  better  right  to  it  than 
the  man  who  did  not  work  ?  And  yet,  according  to 
these  gentlemen,  we  never  would  have  known  it  was 
wrong  to  steal  had  not  the  Ten  Commandments  been 
given  from  Mount  Sinai. 

You  go  into  a  savage  country  where  they  never 
heard  of  the  Bible,  and  let  a  man  hunt  all  day  for 
game,  and  finally  get  one  little  bird,  and  the  hungry- 
man  that  staid  at  home  endeavor  to  take  it  from 
him,  and  you  would  see  whether  he  would  need  a 


direct  revelation  from  God  in  order  to  make  up 
his  mind  who  had  the  better  right  to  that  bird. 
Our  ideas  of  right  and  wrong  are  born  of  our 
surroundings,  and  if  a  man  will  think  for  a  moment 
he  will  see  it.  But  they  deny  that  the  mind  thinks 
in  spite  of  us.  I  heard  a  story  of  a  man  who  said, 
"  No  man  can  think  of  one  thing  a  minute,  he  will 
think  of  something  else."  Well,  there  was  a  little 
Methodist  preacher.  He  said  he  could  think  of 
a  thing  a  minute — that  he  could  say  the  Lord's 
Prayer  and  never  think  of  another  thing.  "Well," 
said  the  man,  "  I'll  tell  you  what  I  will  do.  There  is 
the  best  road-horse  in  the  country.  I  will  give  you 
that  horse  if  you  will  just  say  the  Lord's  Prayer,  and 
not  think  of  another  thing."  And  the  little  fellow 
shut  up  his  eyes  :  "  Our  Father  which  art  in  Heaven, 
Hallowed  be  thy  name.  Thy  Kingdom  come,  Thy 
will  be  done — I  suppose  you  will  throw  in  the  saddle 
and  bridle  ?" 

I  have  always  insisted,  and  I  shall  always  insist, 
until  I  find  some  fact  in  Nature  correcting  the  state 
ment,  that  Nature  sows  the  seeds  of  thought — that 
every  brain  is  a  kind  of  field  where  the  seeds  are 
sown,  and  that  some  are  very  poor,  and  some  are 
very  barren,  and  some  are  very  rich.  That  is  my 


Again  he  asks:"  If  one  is  not  responsible  for  his 
thought,  why  is  any  one  blamed  for  thinking  as  he 
does  ?  "  It  is  not  a  question  of  blame,  it  is  a  ques 
tion  of  who  is  right — a  question  of  who  is  wrong. 
Admit  that  every  one  thinks  exactly  as  he  must, 
that  does  not  show  that  his  thought  is  right ;  that 
does  not  show  that  his  thought  is  the  highest 
thought.  Admit  that  every  piece  of  land  in  the 
world  produces  what  it  must ;  that  does  not  prove 
that  the  land  covered  with  barren  rocks  and  a  little 
moss  is  just  as  good  as  the  land  covered  with  wheat 
or  corn  ;  neither  does  it  prove  that  the  mind  has  to 
act  as  the  wheat  or  the  corn  ;  neither  does  it  prove 
that  the  land  had  any  choice  as  to  what  it  would 
produce.  I  hold  men  responsible  not  for  their 
thoughts  ;  I  hold  men  responsible  for  their  actions. 
And  I  have  said  a  thousand  times  :  Physical  liberty 
is  this — the  right  to  do  anything  that  does  not  in 
terfere  with  another — in  other  words,  to  act  right  ; 
and  intellectual  liberty  is  this — the  right  to  think 
right,  and  the  right  to  think  wrong,  provided  you 
do  your  best  to  think  right.  I  have  always  said  it, 
and  I  expect  to  say  it  always. 

The  reverend  gentleman  is  also  afflicted  with  the 
gradual  theory.  I  believe  in  that  theory. 

If  you  will  leave  out  inspiration,  if  you  will  leave 


out  the  direct  interference  of  ah  infinite  God,  the 
gradual  theory  is  right.  It  is  a.  theory  of  evolu 

I  admit  that  astronomy  has  been  born  of  astrology, 
that  chemistry  came  from  the  black  art ;  and  I  also 
contend  that  religion  will  be  lost  in  science.  I  be 
lieve  in  evolution.  I  believe  in  the  budding  of  the 
seed,  the  shining  of  the  sun,  the  dropping  of  the 
rain  ;  I  believe  in  the  spreading  and  the  growing  ; 
and  that  is  as  true  in  every  other  department  of  the 
world  as  it  is  in  vegetation.  I  believe  it ;  but 
that  does  not  account  for  the  Bible  doctrine. 
We  are  told  we  have  a  book  absolutely  inspired, 
and  it  will  not  do  to  say  God  gradually  grows. 
If  he  is  infinite  now,  he  knows  as  much  as  he 
ever  will.  If  he  has  been  always  infinite,  he 
knew  as  much  at  the  time  he  wrote  the  Bible 
as  he  knows  to-day ;  and,  consequently,  what 
ever  he  said  then  must  be  as  true  now  as  it  was 
then.  You  see  they  mix  up  now  a  little  bit  of 
philosophy  with  religion — a  little  bit  of  science  with 
the  shreds  and  patches  of  the  supernatural. 

Hear  this  :  I  said  in  my  lecture  the  other  day 
that  all  the  clergymen  in  the  world  could  not  get 
one  drop  of  rain  out  of  the  sky.  I  insist  on  it.  All 
the  prayers  on  earth  cannot  produce  one  drop  of 


rain.  I  also  said  all  the  clergymen  of  the  world 
could  not  save  one  human  life.  They  tried  it  last 
year.  They  tried  it  in  the  United  States.  The 
Christian  world  upon  its  knees  implored  God  to 
save  one  life,  and  the  man  died.  The  man  died ! 
Had  the  man  recovered  the  whole  church  would 
have  claimed  that  it  was  in  answer  to  prayer.  The 
man  having  died,  what  does  the  church  say  now  ? 
What  is  the  answer  to  this  ?  The  Rev.  Dr.  Thomas 
says  :  "  There  is  prayer  and  there  is  rain."  Good. 
"  Can  he  that  is  himself  or  any  one  else  say  there  is 
no  possible  relation  between  one  and  the  other  ?  " 
I  do.  Let  us  put  it  another  way.  There  is  rain 
and  there  is  infidelity  ;  can  any  one  say  there  is  no 
possible  relation  between  the  two  ?  How  does  Dr. 
Thomas  know  that  he  is  not  indebted  to  me  for  this 
year's  crops  ?  And  yet  this  gentleman  really  throws 
out  the  idea  that  there  is  some  possible  relation 
between  prayer  and  rain,  between  rain. and  health  ; 
and  he  tells  us  that  he  would  have  died  twenty-five 
years  ago  had  it  not  been  for  prayer.  I  doubt  it. 
Prayer  is  not  a  medicine.  Life  depends  upon  cer 
tain  facts — not  upon  prayer.  All  the  prayer  in  the 
world  cannot  take  the  place  of  the  circulation  of  the 
blood.  All  the  prayer  in  the  world  is  no  substitute 
for  digestion.  All  the  prayer  in  the  world  cannot 


take  the  place  of  food  ;  and  whenever  a  man  lives 
by  prayer  you  will  find  that  he  eats  considerable  be 
sides.  It  will  not  do.  Again  :  This  reverend  Doc 
tor  says  :  "  Shall  we  say  that  all  the  love  of  the 
unseen  world " — how  does  he  know  there  is  any 
love  in  the  unseen  world  ?  "  and  the  love  of  God  " 
— how  does  he  know  there  is  any  love  in  God  ? 
"  heed  not  the  cries  and  tears  of  earth  ?  " 

I  do  not  know  ;  but  let  the  gentleman  read  the 
history  of  religious  persecution.  Let  him  read  the 
history  of  those  who  were  put  in  dungeons,  of  those 
who  lifted  their  chained  hands  to  God  and  mingled 
prayer  with  the  clank  of  fetters  ;  men  that  were  in 
the  dungeons  simply  for  loving  this  God,  simply  for 
worshiping  this  God.  And  what  did  God  do  ? 
Nothing.  The  chains  remained  upon  the  limbs  of 
his  worshipers.  They  remained  in  the  dungeons 
built  by  theology,  by  malice,  and  hatred  ;  and  what 
did  God  do  ?  Nothing.  Thousands  of  men  were 
taken  from  their  homes,  fagots  were  piled  around 
their  bodies  ;  they  were  consumed  to  ashes,  and  what 
did  God  do  ?  Nothing.  The  sword  of  extermina 
tion  was  unsheathed,  hundreds  and  thousands  of  men, 
women  and  children  perished.  Women  lifted  their 
hands  to  God  and  implored  him  to  protect  their 
children,  their  daughters  ;  and  what  did  God  do  ? 


Nothing.  Whole  races  were  enslaved,  and  the 
cruel  lash  was  put  upon  the  naked  back  of  toil. 
What  did  God  do  ?  Nothing.  Children  were  sold 
from  the  arms  of  mothers.  All  the  sweet  humanities 
of  life  were  trodden  beneath  the  brutal  foot  of  creed  ; 
and  what  did  God  do  ?  Nothing.  Human  beings, 
his  children,  were  tracked  through  swamps  by 
bloodhounds  ;  and  what  did  God  do  ?  Nothing. 
Wild  storms  sweep  over  the  earth  and  the  ship 
wrecked  go  down  in  the  billows  ;  and  what  does 
God  do  ?  Nothing.  There  come  plague  and  pesti 
lence  and  famine.  What  does  God  do  ?  Thousands 
and  thousands  perish.  Little  children  die  upon  the 
withered  breasts  of  mothers  ;  and  what  does  God 
do  ?  Nothing. 

What  evidence  has  Dr.  Thomas  that  the  cries  and 
tears  of  man  have  ever  touched  the  heart  of  God  ? 
Let  us  be  honest.  I  appeal  to  the  history  of  the 
world  ;  I  appeal  to  the  tears,  and  blood,  and  agony, 
and  imprisonment,  and  death  of  hundreds  and  mill 
ions  of  the  bravest  and  best.  Have  they  ever 
touched  the  heart  of  the  Infinite  ?  Has  the  hand  of 
help  ever  been  reached  from  heaven  ?  I  do  not 
know  ;  but  I  do  not  believe  it. 

Dr.  Thomas  tells  me  that  is  orthodox  Christianity. 
What  right  has  he  to  tell  what  is  orthodox  Chris- 


tianity  ?  He  is  a  heretic.  He  had  too  much  brain  to 
remain  in  the  Methodist  pulpit.  He  had  a  doubt — 
and  a  doubt  is  born  of  an  idea.  And  his  doctrine  has 
been  declared  by  his  own  church  to  be  unorthodox. 
They  have  passed  on  his  case  and  they  have  found 
him  unconstitutional.  What  right  has  he  to  state 
what  is  orthodox  ?  And  here  is  what  he  says  : 
"Christianity  " — orthodox  Christianity  1  suppose  he 
means — "teaches,  concerning  the  future  world,  that 
rewards  and  punishments  are  carried  over  from  time 
to  eternity  ;  that  the  principles  of  the  government  of 
God  are  the  same  there  as  here  ;  that  character,  and 
not  profession  determines  destiny  ;  and  that  Hum- 
boldt,  and  Dickens,  and  all  others  who  have  gone 
and  shall  go  to  that  world  shall  receive  their  just 
rewards  ;  that  souls  will  always  be  in  the  place  in 
which  for  the  time,  be  it  now  or  a  million  years 
hence,  they  are  fitted.  That  is  what  Christianity 

If  it  does,  never  will  I  have  another  word  to  say 
against  Christianity.  It  never  has  taught  it.  Chris 
tianity — orthodox  Christianity — teaches  that  when 
you  draw  your  last  breath  you  have  lost  the  last 
opportunity  for  reformation.  Christianity  teaches 
that  this  little  world  is  the  eternal  line  between  time 
and  eternity,  and  if  you  do  not  get  religion  in  this 


life,  you  will  be  eternally  damned  in  the  next.  That 
is  Christianity.  They  say  :  "Now  is  the  accepted 
time."  If  you  put  it  off  until  you  die,  that  is  too 
late  ;  and  the  doctrine  of  the  Christian  world  is  that 
there  is  no  opportunity  for  reformation  in  another 
world.  The  doctrine  of  orthodox  Christianity  is 
that  you  must  believe  on  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  here 
in  this  life,  and  it  will  not  do  to  believe  on  him  in 
the  next  world.  You  must  believe  on  him  here 
and  that  if  you  fail  here,  God  in  his  infinite  wisdom 
will  never  give  you  another  chance.  That  is  ortho 
dox  Christianity  ;  and  according  to  orthodox  Chris 
tianity,  the  greatest,  the  best  and  the  sublimest  of 
the  world  are  now  in  hell.  And  why  is  it  that  they 
say  it  is  not  orthodox  Christianity  ?  I  have  made 
them  ashamed  of  their  doctrine.  When  I  called  to 
their  attention  the  fact  that  such  men  as  Darwin, 
such  men  as  Emerson,  Dickens,  Longfellow,  La 
place,  Shakespeare,  and  Humboldt,  were  in  hell,  it 
struck  them  all  at  once  that  the  company  in  heaven 
would  not  be  very  interesting  with  such  men  left 

And  now  they  begin  to  say  :  "  We  think  the  Lord 
will  give  those  men  another  chance."  I  have 
succeeded  in  my  mission  beyond  my  most  sanguine 
expectations.  I  have  made  orthodox  ministers  deny 


their  creeds  ;  I  have  made  them  ashamed  of  their 
doctrine — and  that  is  glory  enough.  They  will  let 
me  in,  a  few  years  after  I  am  dead.  I  admit  that 
the  doctrine  that  God  will  treat  us  as  we  treat 
others — I  admit  that  is  taught  by  Matthew,  Mark, 
and  Luke  ;  but  it  is  not  taught  by  the  Orthodox 
church.  I  want  that  understood.  I  admit  also 
that  Dr.  Thomas  is  not  orthodox,  and  that  he  was 
driven  out  of  the  church  because  he  thought  God 
too  good  to  damn  men  forever  without  giving  them 
the  slightest  chance.  Why,  the  Catholic  Church 
is  a  thousand  times  better  than  your  Protestant 
Church  upon  that  question.  The  Catholic  Church 
believes  in  purgatory — that  is,  a  place  where  a 
fellow  can  get  a  chance  to  make  a  motion  for  a  new 

Dr.  Thomas,  all  I  ask  of  you  is  to  tell  all  that  you 
think.  Tell  your  congregation  whether  you  believe 
the  Bible  was  written  by  divine  inspiration.  Have 
the  courage  and  the  grandeur  to  tell  your  people 
whether,  in  your  judgment,  God  ever  upheld  slavery. 

Do  not  shrink.  Do  not  shirk.  Tell  your  people 
whether  God  ever  upheld  polygamy.  Do  not 
shrink.  Tell  them  whether  God  was  ever  in  favor 
of  religious  persecution.  Stand  right  to  it.  Then 
tell  your  people  whether  you  honestly  believe  that 


a  good  man  can  suffer  for  a  bad  one  and  the  bad 
one  get  the  credit.  Be  honor  bright.  Tell  what 
you  really  think  and  there  will  not  be  as  much 
difference  between  you  and  myself  as  you  imagine. 

The  next  gentleman,  I  believe,  is  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Lorimer.  He  comes  to  the  rescue,  and  I  have  an 
idea  of  his  mental  capacity  from  the  fact  that  he  is  a 
Baptist.  He  believes  that  the  infinite  God  has  a 
choice  as  to  the  manner  in  which  a  man  or  babe 
shall  be  dampened.  This  gentleman  regards  modern 
infidelity  as  "  pitifully  shallow  "  as  to  its  intellectual 
conceptions  and  as  to  its  philosophical  views  of  the 
universe  and  of  the  problems  regarding  man's  place 
in  it  and  of  his  destiny.  "  Pitifully  shallow ! " 

What  is  the  modern  conception  of  the  universe  ? 
The  modern  conception  is  that  the  universe  always 
has  been  and  forever  will  be.  The  modern  concep 
tion  of  the  universe  is  that  it  embraces  within  its 
infinite  arms  all  matter,  all  spirit,  all  forms  of  force, 
all  that  is,  all  that  has  been,  all  that  can  be.  That 
is  the  modern  conception  of  this  universe.  And 
this  is  called  "  pitiful." 

What  is  the  Christian  conception  ?  It  is  that  all 
the  matter  in  the  universe  is  dead,  inert,  and  that 
back  of  it  is  a  Jewish  Jehovah  who  made  it,  and 
who  is  now  engaged  in  managing  the  affairs  of  this 

5 1  2       REPLY  TO  REV.  DRS.  THOMAS  AND  LORIMER. 

world.  And  they  even  go  so  far  as  to  say  that  that 
Being  made  experiments  in  which  he  signally  failed. 
That  Being  made  man  and  woman  and  put  them  in 
a  garden  and  allowed  them  to  become  totally  de 
praved.  That  Being  of  infinite  wisdom  made 
hundreds  and  millions  of  people  when  he  knew  he 
would  have  to  drown  them.  That  Being  peopled  a 
planet  like  this  with  men,  women  and  children, 
knowing  that  he  would  have  to  consign  most  of  them 
to  eternal  fire.  That  is  a  pitiful  conception  of  the 
universe.  That  is  an  infamous  conception  of  the 
universe.  Give  me  rather  the  conception  of  Spinoza, 
the  conception  of  Humboldt,  of  Darwin,  of  Huxley, 
of  Tyndall  and  of  every  other  man  who  has  thought. 
I  love  to  think  of  the  whole  universe  together  as 
one  eternal  fact.  1  love  to  think  that  everything  is 
alive  ;  that  crystallization  is  itself  a  step  toward  joy. 
I  love  to  think  that  when  a  bud  bursts  into  blossom 
it  feels  a  thrill.  I  love  to  have  the  universe  full  of 
feeling  and  full  of  joy,  and  not  full  of  simple  dead, 
inert  matter,  managed  by  an  old  bachelor  for  all 

Another  thing  to  which  this  gentleman  objects  is 
that  I  propose  to  banish  such  awful  thoughts  as  the 
mystery  of  our  origin  and  our  relations  to  the  pres 
ent  and  to  the  possible  future  from  human  thought. 


I  have  never  said  so.  Never.  I  have  said,  One 
world  at  a  time.  Why  ?  Do  not  make  yourself 
miserable  about  another.  Why  ?  Because  I  do 
not  know  anything  about  it,  and  it  may  be  good. 
So  do  not  worry.  That  is  all.  You  do  not  know 
where  you  are  going  to  land.  It  may  be  the  happy 
port  of  heaven.  Wait  until  you  get  there.  It  will 
be  time  enough  to  make  trouble  then.  This  is  what 
I  have  said.  I  have  said  that  the  golden  bridge 
of  life  from  gloom  emerges,  and  on  shadow  rests.  I 
do  not  know.  I  admit  it.  Life  is  a  shadowy 
strange  and  winding  road  on  which  we  travel  for  a 
few  short  steps,  just  a  little  way  from  the  cradle  with 
its  lullaby  of  love,  to  the  low  and  quiet  wayside  inn 
where  all  at  last  must  sleep,  and  where  the  only 
salutation  is  "Good-Night!"  Whether  there  is  a 
good  morning  I  do  not  know,  but  I  am  willing  to 

Let  us  think  these  high  and  splendid  thoughts. 
Let  us  build  palaces  for  the  future,  but  do  not  let  us 
spend  time  making  dungeons  for  men  who  happen 
to  differ  from  us.  I  am  willing  to  take  the  concep 
tions  of  Humboldt  and  Darwin,  of  Haeckel  and 
Spinoza,  and  I  am  willing  to  compare  their  splendid 
conceptions  with  the  doctrine  embraced  in  the 
Baptist  creed.  This  gentleman  has  his  ideas  upon  a 


variety  of  questions,  and  he  tells  me  that,  "  No  one 
has  a  right  to  say  that  Dickens,  Longfellow,  and 
Darwin  are  castaways."  Why  not  ?  They  were 
not  Christians.  They  did  not  believe  in  the  Lord 
Jesus  Christ.  They  did  not  believe  in  the  inspira 
tion  of  the  Scriptures.  And,  if  orthodox  religion 
be  true,  they  are  castaways.  But  he  says  :  "  No 
one  has  the  right  to  say  that  orthodoxy  condemns 
to  perdition  any  man  who  has  struggled  toward  the 
right,  and  who  has  tried  to  bless  the  earth  he  is 
raised  on."  That  is  what  I  say,  but  that  is  not  what 
orthodoxy  says.  Orthodoxy  says  that  the  best  man 
in  the  world,  if  he  fails  to  believe  in  the  existence  of 
God,  or  in  the  divinity  of  Christ,  will  be  eternally 
lost.  Does  it  not  say  it?  Is  there  an  orthodox 
minister  in  this  town  now  who  will  stand  up  and 
say  that  an  honest  atheist  can  be  saved  ?  He  will 
not.  Let  any  preacher  say  it,  and  he  will  be  tried 
for  heresy. 

I  will  tell  you  what  orthodoxy  is.  A  man  goes 
to  the  day  of  judgment,  and  they  cross-examine 
him,  and  they  say  to  him  : 

"  Did  you  believe  the  Bible  ?  " 

"  No." 

"  Did  you  belong  to  the  church  ?  " 

"  No." 


"  Did  you  take  care  of  your  wife  and  children  ?  " 

"  Yes  ?  " 

1 '  Pay  your  debts  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Love  your  country  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Love  the  whole  world  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Never  made  anybody  unhappy  ?  " 

"  Not  that  I  know  of.  If  there  is  any  man  or 
woman  that  I  ever  wronged  let  them  stand  up  and 
say  so.  That  is  the  kind  of  man  I  am  ;  but,"  said 
he,  "  I  did  not  believe  the  Bible.  I  did  not  believe 
in  the  divinity  of  Jesus  Christ,  and,  to  tell  you  the 
truth,  I  did  not  believe  in  the  existence  of  God.  I 
now  find  I  was  mistaken  ;  but  that  was  my  doctrine." 

Now,  I  want  to  know  what,  according  to  the 
orthodox  church,  is  done  with  that  man  ?  He  is 
sent  to  hell. 

That  is  their  doctrine. 

Then  the  next  fellow  comes.     He  says : 

"  Where  did  you  come  from  ?  " 

And  he  looks  off  kind  of  stiffly,  with  his  head  on 
one  side  and  he  says  : 

"  I  came  from  the  gallows.     I  was  just  hung." 

"  What  were  you  hung  for?  " 


"  Murdering  my  wife.  She  wasn't  a  Christian 
either,  she  got  left.  The  day  I  was  hung  I  was 
washed  in  the  blood  of  the  Lamb." 

That  is  Christianity.     And  they  say  to  him  : 

"Come  in !     Let  the  band  play  !  " 

That  is  orthodox  Christianity.  Every  man  that  is 
hanged — there  is  a  minister  there,  and  the  minister 
tells  him  he  is  all  right.  All  he  has  to  do  is  just  to 
believe  on  the  Lord. 

Another  objection  this  gentleman  has,  and  that 
is  that  I  am  scurrilous.  Scurrilous !  And  the  gen 
tleman,  in  order  to  show  that  he  is  not  scurrilous, 
calls  infidels,  "  donkeys,  serpents,  buzzards."  That 
is  simply  to  show  that  he  is  not  scurrilous. 

Dr.  Lorimer  is  also  of  the  opinion  that  the  mind 
thinks  independently  of  the  will  ;  and  I  propose  to 
prove  by  him  that  it  does.  He  is  the  last  man  in 
the  world  to  controvert  that  doctrine — the  last  man. 
In  spite  of  himself  his  mind  absorbed  the  sermon  of 
another  man,  and  he  repeated  it  as  his  own.  I  am 
satisfied  he  is  an  honest  man  ;  consequently  his 
mind  acted  independently  of  his  will,  and  he  fur 
nishes  the  strongest  evidence  in  favor  of  my  position 
that  it  is  possible  to  conceive.  I  am  infinitely 
obliged  to  him  for  the  testimony  he  has  uncon 
sciously  offered. 


He  also  takes  the  ground  that  infidelity  debases 
a  man  and  renders  him  unfit  for  the  discharge  of 
the  highest  duties  pertaining  to  life,  and  that  we 
show  the  greatest  shallowness  when  we  endeavor 
to  overthrow  Calvinism.  What  is  Calvinism  ?  It 
is  the  doctrine  that  an  infinite  God  made  millions  of 
people,  knowing  that  they  would  be  damned.  I 
have  answered  that  a  thousand  times.  I  answer  it 
again.  No  God  has  a  right  to  make  a  mistake,  and 
then  damn  the  mistake.  No  God  has  a  right  to 
make  a  failure,  and  a  man  who  is  to  be  eternally 
damned  is  not  a  conspicuous  success.  No  God  has 
a  right  to  make  an  investment  that  will  not  finally 
pay  a  dividend. 

The  world  is  getting  better,  and  the  ministers,  all 
your  life  and  all  mine,  have  been  crying  out  from 
the  pulpit  that  we  are  all  going  wrong,  that  im 
morality  was  stalking  through  the  land,  that  crime 
was  about  to  engulf  the  world,  and  yet,  in  spite  of 
all  their  prophecies,  the  world  has  steadily  grown 
better,  and  there  is  more  justice,  more  charity,  more 
kindness,  more  goodness,  and  more  liberty  in  the 
world  to-day  than  ever  before.  And  there  is  more 
infidelity  in  the  world  to-day  than  ever  before. 



Question.  Have  you  read  the  article  in  the  Morn 
ing  Advertiser  entitled  "Workers  Starving  "  ? 

Answer.  I  have  read  it,  and  was  greatly  surprised 
at  the  answers  made  to  the  reporter  of  the  Ad 

Question.  What  do  you  think  of  the  remarks  of 
the  Rev.  John  Hall  and  by  Mr.  Warner  Van  Norden, 
Treasurer  of  the  "Church  Extension  Committee  "  ? 

Answer.  My  opinion  is  that  Dr.  Hall  must  have 
answered  under  some  irritation,  or  that  the  reporter 
did  not  happen  to  take  down  all  he  said.  It  hardly 
seems  probable  that  Dr.  Hall  should  have  said  that 

*  The  attention  of  Morning'  Advertiser  readers  was,  in  the  issue  of  February  27th, 
called  to  two  sets  of  facts  transpiring  contemporaneously  in  this  city.  One  was  the 
starving  condition  of  four  hundred  cloakmakers  who  had  struck  because  they 
could  not  live  on  reduced  wages.  Arbitration  had  failed;  two  hundred  of  the 
number,  seeing  starvation  staring  them  in  the  face,  were  forced  to  give  up  the 
fight,  and  the  remaining  number  continued  to  do  battle  for  higher  wages. 

While  these  cloakmakers  were  in  the  extremity  of  destitution,  millionaires  were 
engaged  in  subscribing  to  a  fund  "  for  the  extension  of  the  church."  The  exten 
sion  committee,  received  at  the  home  of  Jay  Gould,  had  met  with  such  signal 
success  as  to  cause  comment  throughout  the  city.  The  host  subscribed  ten  thousand 
dollars,  his  daughter  twenty-five  hundred  and  the  assembled  guests  sums  ranging 
between  five  hundred  and  one  thousand.  The  Morning  Advertiser  made  inquiry  as 
to  whether  any  of  the  money  contributed  for  the  extension  of  the  church  would 
find  its  way  into  the  pockets  of  the  hungry  cloakmakers. 

Dr.  John  Hall  said  he  did  not  have  time  to  discuss  the  matter  of  aiding  the  needy 
poor,  as  there  were  so  many  other  things  that  demanded  his  immediate  attention. 

Mr.  Warner  Van  Norden,  Treasurer  of  the  Church  Extension  Committee,  was 
seen  at  his  office  in  the  North  American  Bank,  of  which  institution  he  is  President. 


522      REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN. 

he  had  no  time  to  discuss  the  matter  of  aiding  the 
needy  poor,  giving  as  a  reason  that  there  were  so 
many  other  things  that  demanded  his  immediate 
attention.  "  The  church  is  always  insisting  that  it 
is,  above  all  things,  a  charitable  institution  ;  that  it 
collects  and  distributes  many  millions  every  year  for 
the  relief  of  the  needy,  and  it  is  always  quoting  : 
"  Sell  that  thou  hast  and  give  to  the  poor."  It 
is  hard  to  imagine  anything  of  more  importance 
than  to  relieve  the  needy,  or  to  succor  the  oppress 
ed.  Of  course,  I  know  that  the  church  itself  pro 
duces  nothing,  and  that  it  lives  on  contributions  ; 
but  its  claim  is  that  it  receives  from  those  who  are 
able  to  give,  and  gives  to  those  who  are  in  urgent 

I  have  sometimes  thought,  that  the  most  uncharit- 

He  took  the  view  that  the  cloakmakers  had  brought  their  trouble  upon  themselves, 
and  it  was  not  the  duty  of  the  charitable  to  extend  to  them  direct  aid. 

Generally  speaking,  he  was  not  in  favor  of  helping  the  poor  and  needy  of  the 
city,  save  in  the  way  employed  by  the  church. 

"  The  experience  of  centuries,  said  he,  "teaches  us  that  the  giving  of  alms  to 
the  poor  only  encourages  them  in  their  idleness  and  their  crimes.  The  duty  of  the 
church  is  to  save  men's  souls,  and  to  minister  to  their  bodies  incidentally. 

"  It  is  best  to  teach  people  to  rely  upon  their  own  resources.  If  the  poor  felt  that 
they  could  get  material  help,  they  would  want  it  always.  In  these  days  if  a  man  or 
woman  can't  get  along  it's  their  own  fault.  There  is  my  typewriter.  She  was 
brought  up  in  a  tenement  house.  Now  she  gets  two  dollars  a  day,  and  dresses 
better  than  did  the  lords  and  ladies  of  other  times.  You'll  find  that  where  people 
are  poor,  it's  their  own  fault. 

"  After  all,  happiness  does  not  lie  in  the  enjoyment  of  material  things — it  is  the  soul 
that  makes  life  worth  living.  You  should  come  to  our  Working  Girls'  Club  and  see 
this  fact  illustrated.  There  you  will  see  girls  who  have  been  working  all  day, 
singing  hymns  and  following  the  leader  in  prayer." 

' '  Don't  you  think  there  are  many  worthy  poor  in  this  city  who  need  material 
help  ?  "  was  asked. 

"No,  sir ;  I  do  not,"  said  Mr.  Van  Norden.  "  If  a  man  or  woman  wants  money, 
they  should  work  for  it." 

"  But  is  employment  always  to  be  had  ?  " 

"  I  think  it  is  by  Americans.  You'  11  find  that  most  of  the  people  out  of  work 
are  those  who  are  not  adapted  to  the  conditions  of  this  country. 

Colonel  Robert  Ingersoll  was  asked  what  he  thought  of  such  philosophy.— New 
York  Morning  Advertiser ',  March  6, 1892. 


able  thing  in  the  world  is  an  organized  charity.  It 
seems  to  have  the  peculiarities  of  a  corporation, 
and  becomes  as  soulless  as  its  kindred.  To  use  a 
very  old  phrase,  it  generally  acts  like  "  a  beggar  on 

Probably  Dr.  Hall,  in  fact,  does  a  great  deal  for 
the  poor,  and  I  imagine  that  he  must  have  been 
irritated  or  annoyed  when  he  made  the  answer  at 
tributed  to  him  in  the  Advertiser.  The  good  Sa 
maritan  may  have  been  in  a  hurry,  but  he  said  noth 
ing  about  it.  The  Levites  that  passed  by  on  the 
other  side  seemed  to  have  had  other  business. 
Understand  me,  I  am  saying  nothing  against  Dr. 
Hall,  but  it  does  seem  to  me  that  there  are  few 
other  matters  more  important  than  assisting  our 
needy  fellow-men. 

Question.  What  do  you  think  of  Mr.  Warner 
Van  Norden's  sentiments  as  expressed  to  the  re 
porter  ? 

Answer.  In  the  first  place,  I  think  he  is  entirely 
mistaken.  I  do  not  think  the  cloakmakers  brought 
their  trouble  upon  themselves.  The  wages  they 
receive  were  and  are  insufficient  to  support  reason 
able  human  beings.  They  work  for  almost  noth 
ing,  and  it  is  hard  for  me  to  understand  why  they 
live  at  all,  when  life  is  so  expensive  and  death  so 

524        REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN. 

cheap.  All  they  can  possibly  do  is  to  earn  enough 
one  day  to  buy  food  to  enable  them  to  work  the 
next.  Life  with  them  is  a  perpetual  struggle.  They 
live  on  the  edge  of  death.  Under  their  feet  they 
must  feel  the  side  of  the  grave  crumbling,  and  thus 
they  go  through,  day  by  day,  month  by  month,  year 
by  year.  They  are,  I  presume,  sustained  by  a  hope 
that  is  never  realized. 

Mr.  Van  Norden  says  that  he  is  not  in  favor  of 
helping  the  poor  and  needy  of  the  city,  save  in  the 
way  employed  by  the  church,  and  that  the  experi 
ence  of  centuries  teaches  us  that  the  giving  of  alms 
to  the  poor  only  encourages  them  in  their  idleness 
and  their  crimes. 

Is  Mr.  Van  Norden  ready  to  take  the  ground 
that  when  Christ  said  :  "  Sell  that  thou  hast  and 
give  to  the  poor,"  he  intertded  to  encourage  idleness 
and  crime  ? 

Is  it  possible  that  when  it  was  said,  "  It  is  better 
to  give  than  to  receive,"  the  real  meaning  was,  It 
is  better  to  encourage  idleness  and  crime  than  to 
receive  assistance  ? 

For  instance,  a  man  falls  into  the  water.  Why 
should  one  standing  on  the  shore  attempt  to  rescue 
him  ?  Could  he  not  properly  say  :  "  If  all  who 
fall  into  the  water  are  rescued,  it  will  only  encour- 

REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN.        525 

age  people  to  fall  into  the  water ;  it  will  make 
sailors  careless,  and  persons  who  stand  on  wharves, 
will  care  very  little  whether  they  fall  in  or  not. 
Therefore,  in  order  to  make  people  careful  who 
have  not  fallen  into  the  water,  let  those  in  the  water 
drown."  In  other  words,  why  should  anybody  be 
assisted,  if  assistance  encourages  carelessness,  or 
idleness,  or  negligence  ? 

According  to  Mr.  Van  Norden,  charity  is  out  of 
place  in  this  world,  kindness  is  a  mistake,  and  hos 
pitality  springs  from  a  lack  of  philosophy.  In  other 
words,  all  should  take  the  consequences  of  their 
acts,  not  only,  but  the  consequences  of  the  acts  of 

If  I  knew  this  doctrine  to  be  true,  I  should  still 
insist  that  men  should  be  charitable  on  their  own 
account.  A  man  without  pity,  no  matter  how  intel 
ligent  he  may  be,  is  at  best  only  an  intellectual  beast, 
and  if  by  withholding  all  assistance  we  could  finally 
people  the  world  with  those  who  are  actually  self- 
supporting,  we  would  have  a  population  without 
sympathy,  without  charity — that  is  to  say,  without 
goodness.  In  my  judgment,  it  would  be  far  better 
that  none  should  exist. 

Mr.  Van  Norden  takes  the  ground  that  the  duty 
of  the  church  is  to  save  men's  souls,  and  to  minister 

526      REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN. 

to  their  bodies  incidentally.  I  think  that  conditions 
have  a  vast  deal  to  do  with  morality  and  goodness. 
If  you  wish  to  change  the  conduct  of  your  fellow- 
men,  the  first  thing  to  do  is  to  change  their  condi 
tions,  their  surroundings  ;  in  other  words,  to  help 
them  to  help  themselves — help  them  to  get  away 
from  bad  influences,  away  from  the  darkness  of  ig 
norance,  away  from  the  temptations  of  poverty  and 
want,  not  only  into  the  light  intellectually,  but  into 
the  climate  of  prosperity.  It  is  useless  to  give  a 
hungry  man  a  religious  tract,  and  it  is  almost  use 
less  to  preach  morality  to  those  who  are  so  situated 
that  the  necessity  of  the  present,  the  hunger  of  the 
moment,  overrides  every  other  consideration.  There 
is  a  vast  deal  of  sophistry  in  hunger,  and  a  good  deal 
of  persuasion  in  necessity. 

Prosperity  is  apt  to  make  men  selfish.  They 
imagine  that  because  they  have  succeeded,  others 
and  all  others,  might  or  may  succeed.  If  any  man 
will  go  over  his  own  life  honestly,  he  will  find  that  he 
has  not  always  succeeded  because  he  was  good,  or 
that  he  has  always  failed  because  he  was  bad.  He 
will  find  that  many  things  happened  with  which  he 
had  nothing  to  do,  for  his  benefit,  and  that,  after  all 
is  said  and  done,  he  cannot  account  for  all  of  his 
successes  by  his  absolute  goodness.  So,  if  a  man 

REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN.   52 7 

will  think  of  all  the  bad  things  he  has  done — of  all 
the  bad  things  he  wanted  to  do — of  all  the  bad 
things  he  would  have  done  had  he  had  the  chance, 
and  had  he  known  that  detection  was  impossible,  he 
will  find  but  little  foundation  for  egotism. 

Question.  What  do  you  say  to  this  language  of 
Mr.  Van  Norden.  "  It  is  best  to  teach  people  to  rely 
upon  their  own  resources.  If  the  poor  felt  that  they 
could  get  material  help  they  would  want  it  always, 
and  in  this  day,  if  a  man  and  woman  cannot  get 
along,  it  is  their  own  fault "  ? 

Ansiver.  All  I  can  say  is  that  I  do  not  agree  with 
him.  Often  there  are  many  more  men  in  a  certain 
trade  than  there  is  work  for  such  men.  Often  great 
factories  shut  down,  leaving  many  thousands  out  of 
employment.  You  may  say  that  it  was  the  fault  of 
these  men  that  they  learned  that  trade  ;  that  they 
might  have  known  it  would  be  overcrowded  ;  so  you 
may  say  it  was  the  fault  of  the  capitalist  to  start  a 
factory  in  that  particular  line,  because  he  should  have 
known  that  it  was  to  be  overdone. 

As  no  man  can  look  very  far  into  the  future,  the 
truth  is  it  was  nobody's  fault,  and  without  fault  thou 
sands  and  thousands  are  thrown  out  of  employment. 
Competition  is  so  sharp,  wages  are  so  small,  that  to  be 
out  of  employment  for  a  few  weeks  means  want.  You 

528         REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VA"N  NORDEN. 

cannot  say  that  this  is  the  fault  of  the  man  who  wants 
bread.  He  certainly  did  not  wish  to  go  hungry  ; 
neither  did  he  deliberately  plan  a  failure.  He  did 
the  best  he  could.  There  are  plenty  of  bankers  who 
fail  in  business,  not  because  they  wish  to  fail; so 
there  are  plenty  of  professional  men  who  cannot 
make  a  living,  yet  it  may  not  be  their  fault ;  and 
there  are  others  who  get  rich,  and  it  may  not  be  by 
reason  of  their  virtues. 

Without  doubt,  there  are  many  people  in  the 
city  of  New  York  who  cannot  make  a  living.  Com 
petition  is  too  sharp  ;  life  is  too  complex  ;  conse 
quently  the  percentage  of  failures  is  large.  In  sav 
age  life  there  are  few  failures,  but  in  civilized  life 
there  are  many.  There  are  many  thousands  out  of 
work  and  out  of  food  in  Berlin  to-day.  It  can 
hardly  be  said  to  be  their  fault.  So  there  are  many 
thousands  in  London,  and  every  other  great  city  of 
the  world.  You  cannot  account  for  all  this  want  by 
saying  that  the  people  who  want  are  entirely  to 

A  man  gets  rich,  and  he  is  often  egotistic  enough 
to  think  that  his  wealth  was  the  result  of  his 
own  unaided  efforts ;  and  he  is  sometimes  heartless 
enough  to  say  that  others  should  get  rich  by  follow 
ing  his  example. 

REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN.         529 

Mr.  Van  Norden  states  that  he  has  a  typewriter 
who  gets  two  dollars  a  day,  and  that  she  dresses 
better  than  the  lords  and  ladies  did  of  olden  times. 
He  must  refer  to  the  times  of  the  Garden  of  Eden. 
Out  of  two  dollars  a  day  one  must  live,  and  there  is 
very  little  left  for  gorgeous  robes.  I  hardly  think  a 
lady  is  to  be  envied  because  she  receives  two  dol 
lars  a  day,  and  the  probability  is  that  the  manner  in 
which  she  dresses  on  that  sum — having  first  deducted 
the  expenses  of  living — is  not  calculated  to  excite 

The  philosophy  of  Mr.  Van  Norden  seems  to 
be  concentrated  into  this  line  :  "  Where  people  are 
poor  it  is  their  own  fault."  Of  course  this  is  the 
death  of  all  charity. 

We  are  then  informed  by  this  gentleman  that 
"  happiness  does  not  lie  in  the  enjoyment  of  mate 
rial  things — that  it  is  the  soul  that  makes  life  worth 

Is  it  the  soul  without  pity  that  makes  life  worth 
living?  Is  it  the  soul  in  which  the  blossom  of 
charity  has  never  shed  its  perfume  that  makes  life 
so  desirable  ?  Is  it  the  soul,  having  all  material 
things,  wrapped  in  the  robes  of  prosperity,  and  that 
says  to  all  the  poor  :  It  is  your  own  fault ;  die  of 
hunger  if  you  must — that  makes  life  worth  living  ? 

530        REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN. 

It  may  be  asked  whether  it  is  worth  while  for  such 
a  soul  to  live. 

If  this  is  the  philosophy  of  Mr.  Van  Norden,  I 
do  not  wish  to  visit  his  working  girls'  club,  or 
to  "  hear  girls  who  have  been  working  all  day 
singing  hymns  and  following  the  leader  in  prayer." 
Why  should  a  soul  without  pity  pray  ?  Why 
should  any  one  ask  God  to  be  merciful  to  the 
poor  if  he  is  not  merciful  himself?  For  my  own 
part,  I  would  rather  see  poor  people  eat  than  to 
hear  them  pray.  I  would  rather  see  them  clothed 
comfortably  than  to  see  them  shivering,  and  at  the 
same  time  hear  them  sing  hymns. 

It  does  not  seem  possible  that  any  man  can  say 
that  there  are  no  worthy  poor  in  this  city  who  need 
material  help.  Neither  does  it  seem  possible  that 
any  man  can  say  to  one  who  is  starving  that  if  he 
wants  money  he  must  work  for  it.  There  are 
hundreds  and  thousands  in  this  city  willing  to  work 
who  can  find  no  employment.  There  are  good  and 
pure  women  standing  between  their  children  and 
starvation,  living  in  rooms  worse  than  cells  in  peni 
tentiaries — giving  their  own  lives  to  their  children — 
hundreds  and  hundreds  of  martyrs  bearing  the  cross 
of  every  suffering,  worthy  of  the  reverence  and  love 
of  mankind.  So  there  are  men  wandering  about 

REPLY  TO  REV.  J.  HALL  AND  W.  VAN  NORDEN.    53  I 

these  streets  in  search  of  work,  willing  to  do  any 
thing  to  feed  the  ones  they  love. 

Mr.  Van  Norden  has  not  done  himself  justice.  I 
do  not  believe  that  he  expresses  his  real  sentiments. 
But,  after  all,  why  should  we  expect  charity  in  a 
church  that  believes  in  the  dogma  of  eternal  pain  ? 
Why  cannot  the  rich  be  happy  here  in  their  palaces, 
while  the  poor  suffer  and  starve  in  huts,  when  these 
same  rich  expect  to  enjoy  heaven  forever,  with  all 
the  unbelievers  in  hell  ?  Why  should  the  agony  of 
time  interfere  with  their  happiness,  when  the  ago 
nies  of  eternity  will  not  and  cannot  affect  their  joy  ? 
But  I  have  nothing  against  Dr.  John  Hall  or  Mr. 
Van  Norden — only  against  their  ideas. 



Question.  Last  Sunday  the  Rev.  Dr.  Plumb  paid 
some  attention  to  the  lecture  which  you  delivered 
here  on  the  23rd  of  October.  Have  you  read  a 
report  of  it,  and  what  have  you  to  say  ? 

Answer.  Dr.  Plumb  attacks  not  only  myself,  but 
the  Rev.  Mr.  Mills.  I  do  not  know  the  position  that 
Mr.  Mills  takes,  but  from  what  Dr.  Plumb  says,  I 
suppose  that  he  has  mingled  a  little  philosophy  with 
his  religion  and  some  science  with  his  superstition. 
Dr.  Plumb  appears  to  have  successfully  avoided  both. 
His  manners  do  not  appear  to  me  to  be  of  the  best. 
Why  should  he  call  an  opponent  coarse  and  blas 
phemous,  simply  because  he  does  not  happen  to 
believe  as  he  does  ?  Is  it  blasphemous  to  say  that 
this  "  poor"  world  never  was  visited  by  a  Redeemer 
from  Heaven,  a  majestic  being — unique — peculiar — 
who  ' '  trod  the  sea  and  hushed  the  storm  and  raised 
the  dead  "  ?  Why  does  Dr.  Plumb  call  this  world  a 

•Boston,   1898.  (535) 

53$  A    REPLY    TO    THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB. 

"  poor "  world  ?  According  to  his  creed,  it  was 
created  by  infinite  wisdom,  infinite  goodness  and 
infinite  power.  How  dare  he  call  the  work  of  such 
a  being  "poor"? 

Is  it  not  blasphemous  for  a  Boston  minister  to 
denounce  the  work  of  the  Infinite  and  say  to  God 
that  he  made  a  "  poor  "  world  ?  If  I  believed  this 
world  had  been  made  by  an  infinitely  wise  and  good 
Being,  I  should  certainly  insist  that  this  is  not  a  poor 
world,  but,  on  the  contrary,  a  perfect  world.  I 
would  insist  that  everything  that  happens  is  for  the 
best.  Whether  it  looks  wise  or  foolish  to  us,  I 
would  insist  that  the  fault  we  thought  we  saw,  lies  in 
us  and  not  in  the  infinitely  wise  and  benevolent 

Dr.  Plumb  may  love  God,  but  he  certainly  re 
gards  him  as  a  poor  mechanic  and  a  failure  as  a 
manufacturer.  There  Dr.  Plumb,  like  all  religious 
preachers,  takes  several  things  for  granted  ;  things 
that  have  not  been  established  by  evidence,  and 
things  which  in  their  nature  cannot  be  estab 

He  tells  us  that  this  poor  world  was  visited  by  a 
mighty  Redeemer  from  Heaven.  How  does  he 
know  ?  Does  he  know  where  heaven  is  ?  Does 
he  know  that  any  such  place  exists  ?  Is  he  perfectly 

A    REPLY   TO   THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB.  537 

sure  that  an  infinite  God  would  be  foolish  enough  to 
make  people  who  needed  a  redeemer  ? 

He  also  says  that  this  Being  "  trod  the  sea,  hushed 
the  storm  and  raised  the  dead."  Is  there  any  evi 
dence  that  this  Being  trod  the  sea?  Any  more 
evidence  than  that  Venus  rose  from  the  foam  of  the 
ocean  ?  Any  evidence  that  he  hushed  the  storm 
any  more  than  there  is  that  the  storm  comes  from 
the  cave  of  ^Eolus  ?  Is  there  any  evidence  that  he 
raised  the  dead  ?  How  would  it  be  possible  to 
prove  that  the  dead  were  raised  ?  How  could  we 
prove  such  a  thing  if  it  happened  now  ?  Who 
would  believe  the  evidence  ?  As  a  matter  of  factr 
the  witnesses  themselves  would  not  believe  and 
could  not  believe  until  raising  of  the  dead  became  so 
general  as  to  be  regarded  as  natural. 

Dr.  Plumb  knows,  if  he  knows  anything,  that 
gospel  gossip  is  the  only  evidence  he  has,  or  anybody 
has,  that  Christ  trod  the  sea,  hushed  the  storm  and 
raised  the  dead.  He  also  knows,  if  he  knows  any 
thing,  that  these  stories  were  not  written  until  Christ 
himself  had  been  dead  for  at  least  four  generations. 
He  knows  also  that  these  accounts  were  written  at 
a  time  when  the  belief  in  miracles  was  almost  uni 
versal,  and  when  everything  that  actually  happened 
was  regarded  of  no  particular  importance,  and  only 

A    REPLY    TO    THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB. 

the  things  that  did  not  happen  were  carefully  written 
out  with  all  the  details. 

So  Dr.  Plumb  says  that  this  man  who  hushed  the 
storm  "  spake  as  never  man  spake."  Did  the 
Doctor  ever  read  Zeno  ?  Zeno,  who  denounced 
human  slavery  many  years  before  Christ  was  born  ? 
Did  he  ever  read  Epicurus,  one  of  the  greatest  of 
the  Greeks?  Has  he  read  anything  from  Buddha? 
Has  he  read  the  dialogues  between  Arjuna  and 
Krishna  ?  If  he  has,  he  knows  that  every  great 
and  splendid  utterance  of  Christ  was  uttered  cen 
turies  before  he  lived.  Did  he  ever  read  Lao-tsze  ?  If 
he  did — and  this  man  lived  many  centuries  before  the 
coming  of  our  Lord — he  knows  that  Lao-tsze  said 
"  we  should  render  benefits  for  injuries.  We  should 
love  our  enemies,  and  we  should  not  resist  evil." 
So  it  will  hardly  do  now  to  say  that  Christ  spake  as 
never  man  spake,  because  he  repeated  the  very 
things  that  other  men  had  said. 

So  he  says  that  I  am  endeavoring  to  carry  people 
back  to  a  dimly  groping  Socrates  or  a  vague  Con 
fucius.  Did  Dr.  Plumb  ever  read  Confucius  ?  Only 
a  little  while  ago  a  book  was  published  by  Mr.  For- 
long  showing  the  origin  of  the  principal  religion  and 
the  creeds  that  have  been  taught.  In  this  book  you 
will  find  the  cream  of  Buddha,  of  Christ,  of  Zoroaster, 

A    REPLY   TO   THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB.  539 

and  you  will  also  find  a  few  pages  devoted  to  the 
philosophy  of  Confucius  ;  and  after  you  have  read  the 
others,  then  read  what  Confucius  says,  and  you  will 
find  that  his  philosophy  rises  like  a  monolith  touch 
ing  the  clouds,  while  the  creeds  and  sayings  of  the 
others  appear  like  heaps  of  stone  or  piles  of  rubbish. 
The  reason  of  this  is  that  Confucius  was  not  simply 
a  sentimentalist.  He  was  not  controlled  entirely  by 
feeling,  but  he  had  intelligence — a  great  brain  in 
which  burned  the  torch  of  reason.  Read  Confucius, 
and  you  will  think  that  he  must  have  known  the 
sciences  of  to-day ;  that  is  to  say,  the  conclusions 
that  have  been  reached  by  modern  thinkers.  It 
could  have  been  easily  said  of  Confucius  in  his  day 
that  he  spake  as  never  man  had  spoken,  and  it  may 
be  that  after  you  read  him  you  will  change  your 
mind  just  a  little  as  to  the  wisdom  and  the  intelli 
gence  contained  in  many  of  the  sayings  of  our  Lord. 
Dr.  Plumb  charges  that  Mr.  Mills  is  trying  to  re 
construct  theology.  Whether  he  is  right  in  this 
charge  I  do  not  know,  but  I  do  know  that  I  am  not 
trying  to  reconstruct  theology.  I  am  endeavoring 
to  destroy  it.  I  have  no  more  confidence  in  theol 
ogy  than  I  have  in  astrology  or  in  the  black  art. 
Theology  is  a  science  that  exists  wholly  independent 
of  facts,  and  that  reaches  conclusions,  without  the 

54O  A    REPLY   TO    THE   REV.    DR.    FLUME. 

assistance  of  evidence.  It  also  scorns  experience 
and  does  what  little  it  can  to  do  away  with 

I  make  a  very  great  distinction  between  theology 
and  real  religion.  I  can  conceive  of  no  religion  ex 
cept  usefulness.  Now,  here  we  are,  men  and  women 
in  this  world,  and  we  have  certain  faculties,  certain 
senses.  There  are  things  that  we  can  ascertain, 
and  by  developing  our  brain  we  can  avoid  mistakes, 
keep  a  few  thorns  out  of  our  feet,  a  few  thistles  out 
of  our  hands,  a  few  diseases  from  our  flesh.  In  my 
judgment,  we  should  use  all  our  senses,  gathering 
information  from  every  possible  quarter,  and  this  in 
formation  should  be  only  used  for  the  purpose  of 
ascertaining  the  facts,  for  finding  out  the  conditions 
of  well-being,  to  the  end  that  we  may  add  to  the 
happiness  of  ourselves  and  fellows. 

In  other  words,  I  believe  in  intellectual  veracity 
and  also  in  mental  hospitality.  To  me  reason  is  the 
final  arbiter,  and  when  I  say  reason,  I  mean  my  rea 
son.  It  may  be  a  very  poor  light,  the  flame  small 
and  flickering,  but,  after  all,  it  is  the  only  light  I 
have,  and  never  with  my  consent  shall  any  preacher 
blow  it  out. 

Now,  Dr.  Plumb  thinks  that  I  am  trying  to  despoil 
my  fellow-men  of  their  greatest  inheritance  ;  that  is 

A    REPLY    TO    THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB.  541 

to  say,  divine  Christ.  Why  do  you  call  Christ  good  ? 
Is  it  because  he  was  merciful  ?  Then  why  do  you 
put  him  above  mercy  ?  Why  do  you  call  Christ 
good  ?  Is  it  because  he  was  just  ?  Why  do  you 
put  him  before  justice  ?  Suppose  it  should  turn  out 
that  no  such  person  as  Christ  ever  lived.  What 
harm  would  that  do  justice  or  mercy  ?  Wouldn't 
the  tear  of  pity  be  as  pure  as  now,  and  wouldn't 
justice,  holding  aloft  her  scales,  from  which  she 
blows  even  the  dust  of  prejudice,  be  as  noble,  as 
admirable  as  now  ?  Is  it  not  better  to  love,  justice 
and  mercy  than  to  love  a  name,  and  when  you  put 
a  name  above  justice,  above  mercy,  are  you  sure 
that  you  are  benefiting  your  fellow-men  ? 

If  Dr.  Plumb  wanted  to  answer  me,  why  did  he 
not  take  my  argument  instead  of  my  motive  ? 
Why  did  he  not  point  out  my  weakness  instead  of 
telling  the  consequences  that  would  follow  from  my 
action  ?  We  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  conse 
quences.  I  said  that  to  believe  without  evidence, 
or  in  spite  of  evidence,  was  superstition.  If  that 
definition  is  correct,  Dr.  Plumb  is  a  superstitious 
man,  because  he  believes  at  least  without  evidence. 
What  evidence  has  he  that  Christ  was  God  ?  In 
the  nature  of  things,  how  could  he  have  evidence  ? 
The  only  evidence  he  pretends  to  have  is  the  dream 

542  A    REPLY   TO   THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB. 

of  Joseph,  and  he  does  not  know  that  Joseph 
ever  dreamed  the  dream,  because  Joseph  did  not 
write  an  account  of  his  dream,  so  that  Dr.  Plumb 
has  only  hearsay  for  the  dream,  and  the  dream  is 
the  foundation  of  his  creed. 

Now,  when  I  say  that  that  is  superstition,  Dr. 
Plumb  charges  me  with  being  a  burglar — a  coarse, 
blasphemous  burglar — who  wishes  to  rob  somebody 
of  some  great  blessing.  Dr.  Plumb  would  not  hesi 
tate  to  tell  a  Mohammedan  that  Mohammed  was  an 
impostor.  He  would  tell  a  Mormon  in  Utah  that 
Joseph  Smith  was  a  vulgar  liar  and  that  Brigham 
Young  was  no  better.  In  other  words,  if  in  Turkey, 
he  would  be  a  coarse  and  blasphemous  burglar,  and 
he  would  follow  the  same  profession  in  Utah.  So 
probably  he  would  tell  the  Chinese  that  Confucius 
was  an  ignorant  wretch  and  that  their  religion  was 
idiotic,  and  the  Chinese  priest  would  denounce  Dr. 
Plumb  as  a  very  coarse  and  blasphemous  burglar, 
and  Dr.  Plumb  would  be  perfectly  astonished 
that  a  priest  could  be  so  low,  so  impudent  and 

Of  course  my  wonder  is  not  excited.  I  have 
become  used  to  it. 

If  Dr.  Plumb  would  think,  if  he  would  exercise 
his  imagination  a  little  and  put  himself  in  the  place 

A    REPLY   TO   THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB.  543 

of  others,  he  would  think,  in  all  probability,  better 
things  of  his  opponents.  I  do  not  know  Dr.  Plumb, 
and  yet  I  have  no  doubt  that  he  is  a  good  and 
sincere  man  ;  a  little  superstitious,  superficial,  and 
possibly,  mingled  with  his  many  virtues,  there  may 
be  a  little  righteous  malice. 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Mills  used  to  believe  as  Dr.  Plumb 
does  now,  and  I  suppose  he  has  changed  for  reasons 
that  were  sufficient  for  him.  So  I  believe  him  to  be 
an  honest,  conscientious  man,  and  so  far  as  I  am  con 
cerned,  I  have  no  objection  to  Mr.  Mills  doing  what 
little  he  can  to  get  all  the  churches  to  act  together. 
He  may  never  succeed,  but  I  am  not  responsible  for 

So  I  have  no  objection  to  Dr.  Plumb  preaching 
what  he  believes  to  be  the  gospel.  I  admit  that  he 
is  honest  when  he  says  that  an  infinitely  good  God 
made  a  poor  world  ;  that  he  made  man  and  woman 
and  put  them  in  the  Garden  of  Eden,  and  that  this 
same  God  before  that  time  had  manufactured  a  devil, 
and  that  when  he  manufactured  this  devil,  he  knew 
that  he  would  corrupt  the  man  and  woman  that  he 
had  determined  to  make ;  that  he  could  have 
defeated  the  devil,  but  that  for  a  wise  purpose,  he 
allowed  his  Satanic  Majesty  to  succeed  ;  that  at  the 
time  he  allowed  him  to  succeed,  he  knew  that  in 

544  A    REPLY   TO    THE    REV.    DR.    PLUMB. 

consequence  of  his  success  that  he  (God)  in  about 
fifteen  or  sixteen  hundred  years  would  be  compelled 
to  drown  the  whole  world  with  the  exception  of  eight 
people.  These  eight  people  he  kept  for  seed.  At 
the  time  he  kept  them  for  seed,  he  knew  that  they 
were  totally  depraved,  that  they  were  saturated  with 
the  sin  of  Adam  and  Eve,  and  that  their  children 
would  be  their  natural  heirs.  He  also  knew  at 
the  time  he  allowed  the  devil  to  succeed,  that  he 
(God),  some  four  thousand  years  afterward,  would  be 
compelled  to  be  born  in  Palestine  as  a  babe,  to  learn 
the  carpenter's  trade,  and  to  go  about  the  country  for 
three  years  preaching  to  the  people  and  discussing 
with  the  rabbis  of  his  chosen  people,  and  he  also 
knew  that  these  chosen  people — these  people  who 
had  been  governed  and  educated  by  him,  to  whom 
he  had  sent  a  multitude  of  prophets,  would  at  that 
time  be  so  savage  that  they  would  crucify  him,  al 
though  he  would  be  at  that  time  the  only  sinless 
being  who  had  ever  stood  upon  the  earth.  This  he 
knew  would  be  the  effect  of  his  government,  of  his 
education  of  his  chosen  people.  He  also  knew  at 
the  time  he  allowed  the  devil  to  succeed,  that  in 
consequence  of  that  success  a  vast  majority  of  the 
human  race  would  become  eternal  convicts  in  the 
prison  of  hell. 

A   REPLY   TO   THE   REV.   DR.    PLUMB.  545 

All  this  he  knew,  and  yet  Dr.  Plumb  insists  that 
he  was  and  is  infinitely  wise,  infinitely  powerful 
and  infinitely  good.  What  would  this  God  have 
done  if  he  had  lacked  wisdom,  or  power,  or 
goodness  ? 

Of  all  the  religions  that  man  has  produced,  of  all 
the  creeds  of  savagery,  there  is  none  more  perfectly 
absurd  than  Christianity. 



Question.  Have  you  followed  the  controversy, 
or  rather,  the  interest  manifested  in  the  letters  to 
the  Journal  which  have  followed  your  lecture  of 
Sunday,  and  what  do  you  think  of  them  ? 

Answer.  I  have  read  the  letters  and  reports  that 
have  been  published  in  the  Journal.  Some  of  them 
seem  to  be  very  sincere,  some  not  quite  honest,  and 
some  a  little  of  both. 

The  Rev.  Robert  S.  MacArthur  takes  the  ground 
that  very  many  Christians  do  not  believe  in  a  per 
sonal  devil,  but  are  still  Christians.  He  states  that 
they  hold  that  the  references  in  the  New  Testament 
to  the  devil  are  simply  to  personifications  of  evil, 
and  do  not  apply  to  any  personal  existence.  He 
says  that  he  could  give  the  names  of  a  number  of 
pastors  who  hold  such  views.  He  does  not  state 
what  his  view  is.  Consequently,  I  do  not  know 
whether  he  is  a  believer  in  a  personal  devil  or  not. 

New  York  Journal,  1898.    An  Interview.  (649) 


The  statement  that  the  references  in  the  New 
Testament  to  a  devil  are  simply  to  personifications 
of  evil,  not  applying  to  any  personal  existence, 
seems  to  me  utterly  absurd. 

The  references  to  devils  in  the  New  Testament 
are  certainly  as  good  and  satisfactory  as  the  refer 
ences  to  angels.  Now,  are  the  angels  referred  to  in 
the  New  Testament  simply  personifications  of  good, 
and  are  there  no  such  personal  existences  ?  If 
devils  are  only  personifications  of  evil,  how  is  it  that 
these  personifications  of  evil  could  hold  arguments 
with  Jesus  Christ  ?  How  could  they  talk  back  ? 
How  could  they  publicly  acknowledge  the  divinity 
of  Christ  ?  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  best  evidences 
of  Christ's  divinity  in  the  New  Testament  are  the 
declarations  of  devils.  These  devils  were  supposed 
to  be  acquainted  with  supernatural  things,  and  con 
sequently  knew  a  God  when  they  saw  one,  whereas 
the  average  Jew,  not  having  been  a  citizen  of  the 
celestial  world,  was  unable  to  recognize  a  deity 
when  he  met  him. 

Now,  these  personifications  of  evil,  as  Dr.  Mac- 
Arthur  calls  them,  were  of  various  kinds.  Some 
of  them  were  dumb,  while  others  could  talk,  and 
Christ  said,  speaking  of  the  dumb  devils,  that  they 
were  very  difficult  to  expel  from  the  bodies  of  men  ; 


that  it  required  fasting  and  prayer  to  get  them  out. 
Now,  did  Christ  mean  that  these  dumb  devils  did 
not  exist  ?  That  they  were  only  "  personifications 
of  evil "  ? 

Now,  we  are  also  told  in  the  New  Testament  that 
Christ  was  tempted  by  the  devil ;  that  is,  by  a 
"  personification  of  evil,"  and  that  this  personifica 
tion  took  him  to  the  pinnacle  of  the  temple  and 
tried  to  induce  him  to  jump  off.  Now,  where  did 
this  personification  of  evil  come  from  ?  Was  it  an 
actual  existence  ?  Dr.  MacArthur  says  that  it  may 
not  have  been.  Then  it  did  not  come  from  the  out 
side  of  Christ.  If  it  existed  it  came  from  the  inside 
of  Christ,  so  that,  according  to  MacArthur,  Christ 
was  the  creator  of  his  own  devil. 

I  do  not  know  that  I  have  a  right  to  say  that  this 
is  Dr.  MacArthur's  opinion,  as  he  has  wisely  re 
frained  from  giving  his  opinion.  I  hope  some  time 
he  will  tell  us  whether  he  really  believes  in  a  devil 
or  not,  or  whether  he  thinks  all  allusions  and  refer 
ences  to  devils  in  the  New  Testament  can  be  ex 
plained  away  by  calling  the  devils  "personifications 
of  evil."  Then,  of  course,  he  will  tell  us  whether  it 
was  a  "  personification  of  evil  "  that  offered  Christ 
all  the  kingdoms  of  the  world,  and  whether  Christ 
expelled  seven  "  personifications  of  evil  "  from  Mary 


Magdalene,  and  how  did  they  come  to  count  these 
"  personifications  of  evil  "  ?  If  the  devils,  after  all, 
are  only  "  personifications  of  evil,"  then,  of  course, 
they  cannot  be  numbered.  They  are  all  one. 
There  may  be  different  manifestations,  but,  in  fact, 
there  can  be  but  one,  and  yet  Mary  Magdalene  had 

Dr.  MacArthur  states  that  I  put  up  a  man  of 
straw,  and  then  vigorously  beat  him  down.  Now, 
the  question  is,  do  I  attack  a  man  of  straw  ?  I  take 
it  for  granted  that  Christians  to  some  extent,  at  least, 
believe  in  their  creeds.  I  suppose  they  regard  the 
Bible  as  the  inspired  word  of  God  ;  that  they  be 
lieve  in  the  fall  of  man,  in  the  atonement,  in  salva 
tion  by  faith,  in  the  resurrection  and  ascension  of 
Christ.  I  take  it  for  granted  that  they  believe  these 
things.  Of  course,  the  only  evidence  I  have  is 
what  they  say.  Possibly  that  cannot  be  depended 
upon.  They  may  be  dealing  only  in  the  "  personi 
fication  of  truth." 

When  I  charge  the  orthodox  Christians  with  be 
lieving  these  things,  I  am  told  that  I  am  far  behind 
the  religious  thinking  of  the  hour,  but  after  all,  this 
"  man  of  straw "  is  quite  powerful.  Prof.  Briggs 
attacked  this  "  man  of  straw,"  and  the  straw  man 
turned  on  him  and  put  him  out.  A  preacher  by 


the  name  of  Smith,  a  teacher  in  some  seminary  out 
in  Ohio,  challenged  this  "  man  of  straw,"  and  the 
straw  man  put  him  out. 

Both  these  reverend  gentlemen  were  defeated 
by  the  straw  man,  and  if  the  Rev.  Dr.  MacArthur 
will  explain  to  his  congregation,  I  mean  only  ex 
plain  what  he  calls  the  "  religious  thinking  of  the 
hour,"  the  "  straw  man  "  will  put  him  out  too. 

Dr.  MacArthur  finds  fault  with  me  because  I  put 
into  the  minds  of  representative  thinkers  of  to-day 
the  opinions  of  medieval  monks,  which  leading  re 
ligious  teachers  long  ago  discarded.  Will  Dr.  Mac- 
Arthur  have  the  goodness  to  point  out  one  opinion 
that  I  have  put  into  the  minds  of  representative 
thinkers — that  is,  of  orthodox  thinkers — that  any 
orthodox  religious  teacher  of  to-day  has  discarded  ? 
Will  he  have  the  kindness  to  give  just  one  ? 

In  my  lecture  on  "Superstition  "  I  did  say  that 
to  deny  the  existence  of  evil  spirits,  or  to  deny  the 
existence  of  the  devil,  is  to  deny  the  truth  of  the 
New  Testament ;  and  that  to  deny  the  existence  of 
these  imps  of  darkness  is  to  contradict  the  words  of 
Jesus  Christ.  I  did  say  that  if  we  give  up  the  be 
lief  in  devils  we  must  give  up  the  inspiration  of 
the  Old  and  New  Testaments,  and  we  must  give  up 
the  divinity  of  Christ.  Upon  that  declaration  I 


stand,  because  if  devils  do  not  exist,  then  Jesus  Christ 
was  mistaken,  or  we  have  not  in  the  New  Testament 
a  true  account  of  what  he  said  and  of  what  he  pre 
tended  to  do.  If  the  New  Testament  gives  a  true 
account  of  his  words  and  pretended  actions,  then  he 
did  claim  to  cast  out  devils.  That  was  his  principal 
business.  That  was  his  certificate  of  divinity,  casting 
out  devils.  That  authenticated  his  mission  and 
proved  that  he  was  superior  to  the  hosts  of  darkness. 

Now,  take  the  devil  out  of  the  New  Testament, 
and  you  also  take  the  veracity  of  Christ ;  with  that 
veracity  you  take  the  divinity  ;  with  that  divinity 
you  take  the  atonement,  and  when  you  take  the 
atonement,  the  great  fabric  known  as  Christianity 
becomes  a  shapeless  ruin. 

Now,  let  Dr.  MacArthur  answer  this,  and  answer 
it  not  like  a  minister,  but  like  a  man.  Ministers  are 
unconsciously  a  little  unfair.  They  have  a  little 
tendency  to  what  might  be  called  a  natural  crook. 
They  become  spiritual  when  they  ought  to  be  can 
did.  They  become  a  little  ingenious  and  pious  when 
they  ought  to  be  frank  ;  and  when  really  driven  into 
a  corner,  they  clasp  their  hands,  they  look  upward, 
and  they  cry  "Blasphemy  /  "  I  do  not  mean  by  this 
that  they  are  dishonest.  I  simply  mean  that  they 
are  illogical. 


Dr.  MacArthur  tells  us  also  that  Spain  is  not  a 
representative  of  progressive  religious  teachers.  I 
admit  that.  There  are  no  progressive  religious 
teachers  in  Spain,  and  right  here  let  me  make  a  re 
mark.  If  religion  rests  on  an  inspired  revelation,  it 
is  incapable  of  progress.  It  may  be  said  that  year 
after  year  we  get  to  understand  it  better,  but  if  it  is 
not  understood  when -given,  why  is  it  called  a  "  reve 
lation  "  ?  There  is  no  progress  in  the  multiplication 
table.  Some  men  are  better  mathematicians  than 
others,  but  the  old  multiplication  table  remains  the 
same.  So  there  can  be  no  progress  in  a  revelation 
from  God. 

Now,  Spain — and  that  is  the  great  mistake,  the 
great  misfortune — has  remained  orthodox.  That  is 
to  say,  the  Spaniards  have  been  true  to  their  super 
stition.  Of  course  the  Rev.  Dr.  MacArthur  will 
not  admit  that  Catholicism  is  Christianity,  and  I  sup 
pose  that  the  pope  would  hardly  admit  that  a  Bap 
tist  is  a  very  successful  Christian.  The  trouble  with 
Spain  is,  and  the  trouble  with  the  Baptist  Church  is, 
that  neither  of  them  has  progressed  to  any  great 

Now,  in  my  judgment,  what  is  called  religion  must 
grow  better  as  man  grows  better,  simply  because  it 
was  produced  by  man.  and  the  better  man  is,  the 


nearer  civilized  he  is,  the  better,  the  nearer  civilized, 
will  be  what  he  calls  his  religion  ;  and  if  the  Baptist 
religion  has  progressed,  it  is  a  demonstration  that 
it  was  not  originally  founded  on  a  revelation  from 

In  my  lecture  I  stated  that  we  had  no  right  to 
make  any  distinction  between  the  actions  of  infinite 
wisdom  and  goodness,  and  that  if  God  created  and 
governs  this  world  we  ought  to  thank  him,  if  we 
thanked  him  at  all,  for  all  that  happens  ;  that  we 
should  thank  him  just  as  heartily  for  famine  and  cy 
clone  as  for  sunshine  and  harvest,  and  that  if  Presi 
dent  McKinley  thanked  God  for  the  victory  at 
Santiago,  he  also  should  have  thanked  him  for  send 
ing  the  yellow  fever. 

I  stand  by  these  words.  A  finite  being  has  no 
right  to  make  any  distinction  between  the  actions  of 
the  infinitely  good  and  wise.  If  God  governs  this 
world,  then  everything  that  happens  is  the  very  best 
that  could  happen.  When  A  murders  B,  the  best 
thing  that  could  happen  to  A  is  to  be  a  murderer  and 
the  best  thing  that  could  have  happened  to  B  was  to 
be  murdered.  There  is  no  escape  from  this  if  the 
world  is  governed  by  infinite  wisdom  and  goodness. 

It  will  not  do  to  try  and  dodge  by  saying  that  man 
is  free.  This  God  who  made  man  and  made  him  free 


knew  exactly  how  he  would  use  his  freedom,  and 
consequently  ihis  God  cannot  escape  the  responsi 
bility  for  the  actions  of  men.  He  made  them.  He 
knew  exactly  what  they  would  do.  He  is  respon 

If  I  could  turn  a  piece  of  wood  into  a  human 
being,  and  I  knew  that  he  would  murder  a  man, 
who  is  the  real  murderer  ?  But  if  Dr.  MacArthur 
would  think  as  much  as  he  preaches,  he  would 
come  much  nearer  agreeing  with  me. 

The  Rev.  Dr.  J.  Lewis  Parks  is  very  sorry  that 
he  cannot  discuss  Ingersoll's  address,  because  to  do 
so  would  be  dignifying  Ingersoll.  Of  course  I 
deeply  regret  the  refusal  of  Dr.  J.  Lewis  Parks  to 
discuss  the  address.  I  dislike  to  be  compelled  to 
go  to  the  end  of  my  life  without  being  dignified. 
At  the  same  time  I  will  forgive  the  Rev.  Dr.  J. 
Lewis  Parks  for  not  answering  me,  because  I  know 
that  he  cannot. 

The  Rev.  Dr.  Moldehnke,  whose  name  seems 
chiefly  made  of  consonants,  denounces  me  as  a  scof 
fer  and  as  illogical,  and  says  that  Christianity  is  not 
founded  upon  the  devil,  but  upon  Christ.  He  fur 
ther  says  that  we  do  not  believe  in  such  a  thing  as 
a  devil  in  human  form,  but  we  know  that  there  is 
evil,  and  that  evil  we  call  the  devil.  He  hides  his 


head  under  the  same  leaf  with  Dr.  MacArthur  by 
calling  the  devil  evil. 

Now,  is  this  gentleman  willing  to  say  that  all  the 
allusions  to  the  devil  in  the  Old  and  New  Testa 
ments  can  be  harmonized  with  the  idea  that  the 
devil  is  simply  a  personification  of  evil  ?  Can  he 
say  this  and  say  it  honestly  ? 

But  the  Rev.  Dr.  Moldehnke,  I  think,  seems  to 
be  consistent  ;  seems  to  go  along  with  the  logic  of 
his  creed.  He  says  that  the  yellow  fever,  if  it  visit 
ed  our  soldiers,  came  from  God,  and  that  we 
should  thank  God  for  it.  He  does  not  say  the 
soldiers  should  thank  God  for  it,  or  that  those  who 
had  it  should  thank  God  for  it,  but  that  we  should 
thank  God  for  it,  and  there  is  this  wonderful  thing 
about  Christianity.  It  enables  us  to  bear  with  great 
fortitude,  with  a  kind  of  sublime  patience,  the  mis 
fortunes  of  others. 

He  says  that  this  yellow  fever  works  out  God's 
purposes.  Of  course  I  am  not  as  well  acquainted 
with  the  Deity  as  the  Rev.  Moldehnke  appears  to 
be.  I  have  not  the  faintest  idea  of  what  God's  pur 
poses  are.  He  works,  even  according  to  his  mes 
sengers,  in  such  a  mysterious  way,  that  with  the 
little  reason  I  have  I  find  it  impossible  to  follow 
him.  Why  God  should  have  any  purpose  that 


could  be  worked  out  with  yellow  fever,  or  cholera, 
or  why  he  should  ever  ask  the  assistance  of  tape 
worms,  or  go  in  partnership  with  cancers,  or  take 
in  the  plague  as  an  assistant,  I  have  never  been 
able  to  understand.  I  do  not  pretend  to  know.  I 
admit  my  ignorance,  and  after  all,  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Moldehnke  may  be  right.  It  may  be  that  every 
thing  that  happens  is  for  the  best.  At  the  same 
time,  I  do  not  believe  it. 

There  is  a  little  old  story  on  this  subject  that 
throws  some  light  on  the  workings  of  the  average 
orthodox  mind. 

One  morning  the  son  of  an  old  farmer  came  in 
and  said  to  his  father,  "  One  of  the  ewe  lambs  is 

"  Well,"  said  the  father  ;  "  that  is  all  for  the  best. 
Twins  never  do  very  well,  any  how." 

The  next  morning  the  son  reported  the  death  of 
the  other  lamb,  and  the  old  man  said,  "  Well,  that 
is  all  for  the  best ;  the  old  ewe  will  have  more 

The  next  morning  the  son  said,  "  The  old  ewe  is 

"  Well,"  replied  the  old  man  ;  "  that  may  be  for 
the  best,  but  I  don't  see  it  this  morning." 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Hamlin   has  the  goodness  to  say 


that  my  influence  is  on  the  wane.  This  is  an  ad 
mission  that  I  have  some,  for  which  I  am  greatly 
obliged  to  him.  He  further  states  that  all  my 
arguments  are  easily  refuted,  but  fails  to  refute  them 
on  the  ground  that  such  refutation  might  be  an 
advertisement  for  me. 

Now,  if  Mr.  Hamlin  would  think  a  little,  he 
would  see  that  there  are  some  things  in  the  lecture 
on  "  Superstition "  worth  the  while  even  of  a 
Methodist  minister  to  answer. 

Does  Mr.  Hamlin  believe  in  the  existence  of  the 
devil  ?  If  he  does,  will  he  have  the  goodness  to 
say  who  created  the  devil  ?  He  may  say  that  God 
created  him,  as  he  is  the  creator  of  all.  Then  I 
ask  Mr.  Hamlin  this  question  :  Why  did  God 
create  a  successful  rival  ?  When  God  created  the 
devil,  did  he  not  know  at  that  time  that  he  was 
to  make  this  world  ?  That  he  was  to  create  Adam 
and  Eve  and  put  them  in  the  Garden  of  Eden,  and 
did  he  not  know  that  this  devil  would  tempt  this 
Adam  and  Eve  ?  That  in  consequence  of  that  they 
would  fall  ?  That  in  consequence  of  that  he  would 
have  to  drown  all  their  descendants  except  eight  ? 
That  in  consequence  of  that  he  himself  would  have 
to  be  born  into  this  world  as  a  Judean  peasant? 
That  he  would  have  to  be  crucified  and  suffer  for 


the  sins  of  these  people  who  had  been  misled  by 
this  devil  that  he  deliberately  created,  and  that  after 
all  he  would  be  able  only  to  save  a  few  Methodists  ? 

Will  the  Rev.  Mr.  Hamlin  have  the  goodness  to 
answer  this  ?  He  can  answer  it  as  mildly  as  he 
pleases,  so  that  in  any  event  it  will  be  no  adver 
tisement  for  him. 

The  Rev.  Mr.  F.  J.  Belcher  pays  me  a  great 
compliment,  for  which  I  now  return  my  thanks.  He 
has  the  goodness  to  say,  "  Ingersoll  in  many 
respects  is  like  Voltaire."  I  think  no  finer  compli 
ment  has  been  paid  me  by  any  gentleman  occupy 
ing  a  pulpit,  for  many  years,  and  again  I  thank  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Belcher. 

The  Rev.  W.  D.  Buchanan,  does  not  seem  to  be 
quite  fair.  He  says  that  every  utterance  of  mine 
impresses  men  with  my  insincerity,  and  that  every 
argument  I  bring  forward  is  specious,  and  that  I 
spend  my  time  in  ringing  the  changes  on  arguments 
that  have  been  answered  over  and  over  again  for 
hundreds  of  years. 

Now,  Dr.  Buchanan  should  remember  that  he 
ought  not  to  attack  motives  ;  that  you  cannot 
answer  an  argument  by  vilifying  the  man  who  makes 
it.  You  must  answer  not  the  man,  but  the  argu 


Another  thing  this  reverend  gentleman  should 
remember,  and  that  is  that  no  argument  is  old  until 
it  has  been  answered.  An  argument  that  has  not 
been  answered,  although  it  has  been  put  forward 
for  many  centuries,  is  still  as  fresh  as  a  flower  with 
the  dew  on  its  breast.  It  never  is  old  until  it  has 
been  answered. 

It  is  well  enough  for  this  gentleman  to  say  that 
these  arguments  have  been  answered,  and  if  they 
have  and  he  knows  that  they  have,  of  course  it  will 
be  but  a  little  trouble  to  him  to  repeat  these  answers. 

Now,  my  dear  Dr.  Buchanan,  I  wish  to  ask  you 
some  questions.  Do  you  believe  in  a  personal  devil  ? 
Do  you  believe  that  the  bodies  of  men  and  women 
become  tenements  for  little  imps  and  goblins  and 
demons  ?  Do  you  believe  that  the  devil  used  to 
lead  men  and  women  astray  ?  Do  you  believe  the 
stories  about  devils  that  you  find  in  the  Old  and  New 
Testaments  ? 

Now,  do  not  tell  me  that  these  questions  have  been 
answered  long  ago.  Answer  them  now.  And  if 
you  say  the  devil  does  exist,  that  he  is  a  person, 
that  he  is  an  enemy  of  God,  then  let  me  ask  you 
another  question  :  Why  should  this  devil  punish 
souls  in  hell  for  rebelling  against  God  ?  Why  should 
the  devil,  who  is  an  enemy  of  God,  help  punish  God's 


enemies  ?  This  may  have  been  answered  many 
times,  but  one  more  repetition  will  do  but  little 

Another  thing ;  Do  you  believe  in  the  eternity  of 
punishment  ?  Do  you  believe  that  God  is  the 
keeper  of  an  eternal  prison,  the  doors  of  which  open 
only  to  receive  sinners,  and  do  you  believe  that 
eternal  punishment  is  the  highest  expression  of 
justice  and  mercy  ? 

If  you  had  the  power  to  change  a  stone  into  a 
human  being,  and  you  knew  that  that  human  being 
would  be  a  sinner  and  finally  go  to  hell  and  suffer 
eternal  torture,  would  you  not  leave  it  stone  ?  And 
if,  knowing  this,  you  changed  the  stone  into  a  man, 
would  you  not  be  a  fiend  ?  Now,  answer  this  fairly. 
I  want  nothing  spiritual ;  nothing  with  the  Pres 
byterian  flavor ;  just  good,  honest  talk,  and  tell  us 
how  that  is. 

I  say  to  you  that  if  there  is  a  place  of  eternal  tor 
ment  or  misery  for  any  of  the  children  of  men  — I 
say  to  you  that  your  God  is  a  wild  beast,  an  insane 
fiend,  whom  I  abhor  and  despise  with  every  drop  of 
my  blood. 

At  the  same  time  you  may  say  whether  you  are 
up,  according  to  Dr.  MacArthur,  with  the  religious 
thinking  of  the  hour. 


The  Rev.  J.  W.  Campbell  I  rather  like.  He  appears 
to  be  absolutely  sincere.  He  is  orthodox — true  blue. 
He  believes  in  a  devil ;  in  an  acting,  thinking  devil, 
and  a  clever  devil.  Of  course  he  does  not  think  this 
devil  is  as  stout  as  God,  but  he  is  quicker  ;  not  quite 
as  wise,  but  a  little  more  cunning. 

According  to  Mr.  Campbell,  the  devil  is  the  bunco 
steerer  of  the  universe — king  of  the  green  goods  men  ; 
but,  after  all,  Mr.  Campbell  will  not  admit  that  if  this 
devil  does  not  exist  the  Christian  creeds  all  crumble, 
but  I  think  he  will  admit  that  if  the  devil  does  not 
exist,  then  Christ  was  mistaken,  or  that  the  writers 
of  the  New  Testament  did  not  truthfully  give  us  his 

Now,  if  Christ  was  mistaken  about  the  existence 
of  the  devil,  may  be  he  was  mistaken  about  the  ex 
istence  of  God.  In  other  words,  if  Christ  made  a 
mistake,  then  he  was  ignorant.  Then  we  cannot  say 
he  was  divine,  although  ignorance  has  generally  be 
lieved  in  divinity.  So  I  do  not  see  exactly  how  Mr. 
Campbell  can  say  that  if  the  devil  does  not  exist 
the  Christian  creeds  do  not  crumble,  and  when  I 
say  Christian  creeds  I  mean  orthodox  creeds.  Is 
there  any  orthodox  Christian  creed  without  the  devil 
in  it? 

Now,  if  we  throw  away  the  devil  we  throw  away 


original  sin,  the  fall  of  man,  and  we  throw  away  the 
atonement.  Of  this  arch  the  devil  is  the  keystone. 
Remove  him,  the  arch  falls. 

Now,  how  can  you  say  that  an  orthodox  Christian 
creed  remains  intact  without  crumbling  when  original 
sin,  the  fall  of  man,  the  atonement  and  the  existence 
of  the  devil  are  all  thrown  aside  ? 

Of  course  if  you  mean  by  Christianity,  acting  like 
Christ,  being  good,  forgiving,  that  is  another  matter, 
but  that  is  not  Christianity.  Orthodox  Christians  say 
that  a  man  must  believe  on  Christ,  must  have  faith, 
and  that  to  act  as  Christ  did,  is  not  enough  ;  that  a 
man  who  acts  exactly  as  Christ  did,  dying  without 
faith,  would  go  to  hell.  So  when  Mr.  Campbell 
speaks  of  a  Christian,  I  suppose  he  means  an  orthodox 

Now,  Dr.  Campbell  not  only  knows  that  the  devil 
exists,  but  he  knows  a  good  deal  about  him.  He 
knows  that  he  can  assume  every  conceivable  disguise 
or  shape  ;  that  he  can  go  about  like  a  roaring  lion  ; 
that  at  another  time  he  is  a  god  of  this  world  ;  on 
another  occasion  a  dragon,  and  in  the  afternoon  of  the 
same  day  may  be  Lucifer,  an  angel  of  light,  and  all 
the  time,  I  guess,  a  prince  of  lies.  So  he  often  as 
sumes  the  disguise  of  the  serpent. 

So  the  Doctor  thinks  that  when  the  devil  invited 


Christ  into  the  wilderness  to  tempt  him,  that  he 
adopted  some  disguise  that  made  him  more  than 
usually  attractive.  Does  the  Doctor  think  that  Christ 
could  not  see  through  the  disguise  ?  Was  it  possible 
ror  the  devil  with  a  mask  to  fool  God,  his  creator? 
Was  it  possible  for  the  devil  to  tempt  Christ  by  offer 
ing  him  the  kingdoms  of  the  earth  when  they  already 
belonged  to  Christ,  and  when  Christ  knew  that  the 
devil  had  no  title,  and  when  the  devil  knew  that 
Christ  knew  that  he  had  no  title,  and  when  the  devil 
knew  that  Christ  knew  that  he  was  the  devil,  and 
when  the  devil  knew  that  he  was  Christ  ?  Does  the 
reverend  gentleman  still  think  that  it  was  the  dis 
guise  of  the  devil  that  tempted  Christ  ? 

I  would  like  some  of  these  questions  answered,  be 
cause  I  have  a  very  inquiring  mind. 

So  Mr.  Campbell  tells  us — and  it  is  very  good  and 
comforting  of  him — that  there  is  a  time  coming  when 
the  devil  shall  deceive  the  nations  no  more.  He 
also  tells  us  that  God  is  more  powerful  than  the 
devil,  and  that  he  is  going  to  put  an  end  to  him. 

Will  Mr.  Campbell  have  the  goodness  to  tell  me 
why  God  made  the  devil  ?  If  he  is  going  to  put  an 
end  to  him  why  did  he  start  him  ?  Was  it  not  a 
waste  of  raw  material  to  make  him  ?  Was  it  not 
unfair  to  let  this  devil,  so  powerful,  so  cunning,  so 


attractive,  into  the  Garden  of  Eden,  and  put  Adam 
and  Eve,  who  were  then  scarcely  half  dry,  within  his 
power,  and  not  only  Adam  and  Eve  within  his  power, 
but  their  descendants,  so  that  the  slime  of  the  serpent 
has  been  on  every  babe,  and  so  that,  in  consequence 
of  what  happened  in  the  Garden  of  Eden,  flames 
will  surround  countless  millions  in  the  presence  of  the 
most  merciful  God  ? 

Now,  it  may  be  that  the  Rev.  Dr.  Campbell  can 
explain  all  these  things.  He  may  not  care  to  do  it 
for  my  benefit,  but  let  him  think  of  his  own  congre 
gation  ;  of  the  lambs  he  is  protecting  from  the  wolves 
of  doubt  and  thought. 

The  Rev.  Henry  Frank  appears  to  be  a  man  of 
exceedingly  good  sense  ;  one  who  thinks  for  him 
self,  and  who  has  the  courage  of  his  convictions.  Of 
course  I  am  sorry  that  he  does  not  agree  with  me, 
but  I  have  become  used  to  that,  and  so  I  thank  him 
for  the  truths  he  utters. 

He  does  not  believe  in  the  existence  of  a  personal 
devil,  and  I  guess  by  following  him  up  we  would  find 
that  he  d'd  not  believe  in  the  existence  of  a  personal 
God,  or  in  the  inspiration  of  the  Scriptures.  In 
fact,  he  tells  us  that  he  has  given  up  the  infallibility 
of  the  Bible.  At  the  same  time,  he  says  it  is  the 
most  perfect  compendium  of  religious  and  moral 


thought.  In  that  I  think  he  is  a  little  mistaken. 
There  is  a  vast  deal  of  irreligion  in  the  Bible,  and 
there  is  a  good  deal  of  immoral  thought  in  the  Bible  ; 
but  I  agree  with  him  that  it  is  neither  inspired  nor 

The  Rev.  E.  C.  J.  Kraeling,  pastor  of  the  Zion 
Lutheran  Church,  declares  that  those  who  do  not 
believe  in  a  personal  God  do  not  believe  in  a  per 
sonal  Satan,  and  vice  versa.  The  one,  he  says, 
necessitates  the  other.  In  this  I  do  not  think  he  is 
quite  correct.  I  think  many  people  believe  in  a 
personal  God  who  do  not  believe  in  a  personal 
devil,  but  I  know  of  none  who  do  believe  in  a  per 
sonal  devil  who  do  not  also  believe  in  a  personal 
God.  The  orthodox  generally  believe  in  both  of 
them,  and  for  many  centuries  Christians  spoke  with 
great  respect  of  the  devil.  They  were  afraid  of 

But  I  agree  with  the  Rev.  Mr.  Kraeling  when  he 
says  that  to  deny  a  personal  Satan  is  to  deny  the 
infallibility  of  God's  word.  I  agree  with  this  because 
I  suppose  by  "  God's  word  "  he  means  the  Bible. 

He  further  says,  and  I  agree  with  him,  that  a 
"  Christian  "  needs  no  scientific  argument  on  which 
to  base  his  belief  in  the  personality  of  Satan.  That 
certainly  is  true,  and  if  a  Christian  does  need  a 


scientific  argument  it  is  equally  true  that  he  never 
will  have  one. 

You  see  this  word  "  Science  "  means  something 
that  somebody  knows  ;  not  something  that  somebody 
guesses,  or  wishes,  or  hopes,  or  believes,  but  some 
thing  that  somebody  knows. 

Of  course  there  cannot  be  any  scientific  argument 
proving  the  existence  of  the  devil.  At  the  same 
time  I  admit,  as  the  Rev.  Mr.  Kraeling  says,  and  I 
thank  him  for  his  candor,  that  the  Bible  does  prove 
the  existence  of  the  devil  from  Genesis  to  the  . 
Apocalypse,  and  I  do  agree  with  him  that  the 
"  revealed  word  "  teaches  the  existence  of  a  personal 
devil,  and  that  all  truly  orthodox  Christians  believe 
that  there  is  a  personal  devil,  and  the  Rev.  Mr. 
Kraeling  proves  this  by  the  fall  of  man,  and  he 
proves  that  without  this  devil  there  could  be  no 
redemption  for  the  evil  spirits ;  so  he  brings  forward 
the  temptation  of  Christ  in  the  wilderness.  At  the 
same  time  that  Mr.  Kraeling  agrees  with  me  as  to 
what  the  Bible  says,  he  insists  that  I  bring  no 
arguments,  that  I  blaspheme,  and  then  he  drops 
into  humor  and  says  that  if  any  further  arguments 
are  needed  to  prove  the  existence  of  the  devil,  that 
I  furnish  them. 

How  a  man  believing  the  creed  of  the  orthodox 


Mr.  Kraeling  can  have  anything  like  a  sense  of 
humor  is  beyond  even  my  imagination. 

Now,  I  want  to  ask  Mr.  Kraeling  a  few  questions, 
and  I  will  ask  him  the  same  questions  that  I  ask  all 
orthodox  people  in  my  lecture  on  "  Superstition." 

Now,  Mr.  Kraeling  believes  that  this  world  was 
created  by  a  being  of  infinite  wisdom,  power  and 
goodness,  and  that  the  world  he  created  has  been 
governed  by  him. 

Now,  let  me  ask  the  reverend  gentleman  a  few 
plain  questions,  with  the  request  that  he  answer 
them  without  mist  or  mystery.  If  you,  Mr.  Krael 
ing,  had  the  power  to  make  a  world,  would  you 
make  an  exact  copy  of  this  ?  Would  you  make  a 
man  and  woman,  put  them  in  a  garden,  knowing 
that  they  would  be  deceived,  knowing  that  they 
would  fall  ?  Knowing  that  all  the  consequences 
believed  in  by  orthodox  Christians  would  follow 
from  that  fall?  Would  you  do  it?  And  would 
you  make  your  world  so  as  to  provide  for  earth 
quakes  and  cyclones  ?  Would  you  create  the  seeds 
of  disease  and  scatter  them  in  the  air  and  water  ? 
Would  you  so  arrange  matters  as  to  produce  can 
cers  ?  Would  you  provide  for  plague  and  pesti 
lence  ?  Would  you  so  make  your  world  that  life 
should  feed  on  life,  that  the  quivering  flesh  should 


be   torn   by   tooth   and   beak   and   claw  ?     Would 

Now,  answer  fairly.  Do  not  quote  Scripture; 
just  answer,  and  be  honest. 

Would  you  make  different  races  of  men  ?  Would 
you  make  them  of  different  colors,  and  would  you 
so  make  them  that  they  would  persecute  and  en 
slave  each  other  ?  Would  you  so  arrange  matters 
that  millions  and  millions  should  toil  through  many 
generations,  paid  only  by  the  lash  on  the  back  ? 
Would  you  have  it  so  that  millions  and  millions  of 
babes  would  be  sold  from  the  breasts  of  mothers  ? 
Be  honest. 

Would  you  provide  for  religious  persecution  ? 
For  the  invention  and  use  of  instruments  of  torture  ? 
Would  you  see  to  it  that  the  rack  was  not  forgotten, 
and  that  the  fagot  was  not  overlooked  or  unlighted  ? 
Would  you  make  a  world  in  which  the  wrong 
would  triumph  ?  Would  you  make  a  world  in 
which  innocence  would  not  be  a  shield?  Would 
you  make  a  world  where  the  best  would  be  loaded 
with  chains  ?  Where  the  best  would  die  in  the 
darkness  of  dungeons  ?  Where  the  best  would  make 
scaffolds  sacred  with  their  blood  ? 

Would  you  make  a  world  where  hypocrisy  and 
cunning  and  fraud  should  represent  God,  and 


where   meanness  would  suck  the  blood  of  honest 
credulity  ? 

Would  you  provide  for  the  settlement  of  all 
difficulties  by  war  ?  Would  you  so  make  your 
world  that  the  weak  would  bear  the  burdens,  so 
that  woman  would  be  a  slave,  so  that  children 
would  be  trampled  upon  as  though  they  were 
poisonous  reptiles  ?  Would  you  fill  the  woods  with 
wild  beasts  ?  Would  you  make  a  few  volcanoes  to 
overwhelm  your  children  ?  Would  you  provide 
for  earthquakes  that  would  swallow  them  ?  Would 
you  make  them  ignorant,  savage,  and  fill  their 
minds  with  all  the  phantoms  of  horror  ?  Would 
you  ? 

Now,  it  will  only  take  you  a  few  moments  to 
answer  these  questions,  and  if  you  say  you  would, 
then  I  shall  be  satisfied  that  you  believe  in  the 
orthodox  God,  and  that  you  are  as  bad  as  he.  If 
you  say  you  would  not,  I  will  admit  that  there  is  a 
little  dawn  of  intelligence  in  your  brain. 

At  the  same  time  I  want  it  understood  with  re 
gard  to  all  these  ministers  that  I  am  a  friend  of 
theirs.  I  am  trying  to  civilize  their  congregations, 
so  that  the  congregations  may  allow  the  ministers 
to  develop,  to  grow,  to  become  really  and  truly 
intelligent.  The  process  is  slow,  but  it  is  sure. 


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